Base mask mandate lifted


WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE — Masks are no longer required at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

In accordance with new Department of Defense guidance, base officials removed the installation mask mandate March 3 as surrounding communities meet new health thresholds for COVID-19.

Col. Patrick Miller, 88th Air Base Wing and installation commander, addressed the base in an email outlining the new DOD and Air Force guidance.

“Today, we enter a new phase of the pandemic as we adjust fire based on lessons learned over the past two years,” he said. “As we focus more on severity of disease instead of volume, I ask that we don’t let our guard down and understand that with flexibly comes responsibility. We must continue to remain vigilant.”

The Wright-Patterson Medical Center and other medical facilities are not exempt from mask wear at any level. Anyone entering a medical facility must wear a mask.

According to the new guidance, which can be viewed at www.defense.gov/News, there are now three categories for masking and testing based off the installation’s community health levels in surrounding counties, as determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Currently, WPAFB’s surrounding communities are at a medium or yellow COVID-19 level.

Low (green) — no mask wear required

— Indoor mask-wearing not required for DOD personnel or visitors.

— COVID-19 screening test program is not required.

— Get tested if you have symptoms.

— Stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccines.

— Patients, visitors, and staff are still required to wear masks in Wright-Patterson Medical Center until otherwise directed.

Medium (yellow) — no mask wear required

— Public health and medical providers continue to recommend mask wear for high-risk individuals and in settings where physical distancing cannot be maintained.

— Indoor mask wearing not required for DOD personnel or visitors.

— COVID-19 screening test program is required.

— Patients, visitors, and staff are still required to wear masks in Wright-Patterson Medical Center until otherwise directed.

— If at high risk for severe illness, talk to your health care provider about the need to wear a mask and take other precautions.

— Get tested if you have symptoms.

— Stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccines.

High (orange) – indoor mask wear required

— Indoor mask wearing is required for all service members, DOD civilians, on-site contractors and visitors — regardless of vaccination status.

— Wear a mask in public.

— COVID-19 screening test program is required.

— Get tested if you have symptoms.

— Additional precautions may be needed for people at high risk of severe illness.

— Stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccines.

Base public health guidance

— People may choose to mask at any time. Individuals with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask.

— Regardless of the CDC’s COVID-19 community levels, DOD force health-protection conditions for workplace access and mask wearing for personnel with symptoms, restrictions covering a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 remains in effect.

— When mask wearing is required, any previously approved exceptions remain in effect.

— All other force health-protection measures remain in effect, including guidance regarding workplace access, occupancy levels, physical distancing, travel, and meetings.

— Workplace mask mandates must be followed when commanders and supervisors determine they are required to protect health and safety in the workplace.

Miller emphasized that the pandemic is not over, and Team Wright-Patt needs to “stay vigilant and continue doing the things we’ve been doing to get to this point. I’m looking forward to seeing your smiling faces around the base.”

Preventive measures such as getting vaccinated, physical distancing, maintaining social connectedness, practicing good hygiene, screening and testing for unvaccinated personnel (while at medium or high county levels), and staying home and getting tested when not feeling well should still be followed, he added.

The installation remains in a public health emergency through March 21, with a continued emphasis on optimizing telework to meet mission requirements and provide a safe, healthy environment for the team.

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