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(U.S. Air Force)

DAYTON, Ohio (Tribune News Service) — Local COVID conditions have restricted travel to dozens of Department of Defense installations — and after its recent shift to a stricter health protection condition, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base finds itself on that list.

Wright-Patterson is among the installations subject to travel restrictions, recent Pentagon updates have indicated.

No missions have stopped as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic or the travel restrictions, said a spokeswoman for the 88th Air Base Wing, the unit that acts as landlord to the large Air Force Base.

"When Wright-Patterson Air Force Base transitioned health protection condition Charlie, it triggered the shift to 'red' on the DOD COVID-19 travel restrictions installation status chart," spokeswoman Stacey Geiger said. "Currently, local travel is not impacted; the 'red' status only impacts considerations for official travel to or from the installation. "

To help mitigate transmission of virus, a waiver for official travel is required, she noted.

"Waivers will be granted under certain circumstances such as mission requirements and will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis," Geiger said. "The purpose of the waiver is to ensure deliberate thought went behind the trip with an emphasis on individual safety and mission success."

Wright-Patterson is by no means alone. Big bases like Norfolk Naval Base, Eglin Air Force Base, Joint Base San Antonio and others also fall under restrictions.

Military bases increasingly restricted travel again this summer with rising COVID rates. As recently as Aug. 16, 194 of 230 installations (84%) had seen travel restrictions lifted. That meant service members were able to move to new assignments or travel without waivers.

Rising Delta variant numbers quickly changed that. The most recent Sept. 13 update has restrictions lifted at 76 of 230 installations.

Wright-Patterson moved to HPCON "Charlie" Sept. 1, representing a stiffer regimen of requirements against COVID-19.

The status was to be in effect for the next 30 days and capped the physical presence of workers at 25% or less of the base's pre-pandemic working population — no more than about 7,500 or fewer employees on base.

(c)2021 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)

Visit the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio) at www.daytondailynews.com

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