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Salons, bar, other facilities reopen on Djibouti base, months after coronavirus shut them down

Employees of the beauty salon on Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, prepare for its upcoming reopening, Sept. 2, 2020. The base is reopening many of the quality of life facilities during the third phase of a unified reopening plan.

NATALIA MURILLO/U.S. NAVY

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 8, 2020

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The U.S. military has reopened the beauty salon, bar, the main recreation center and other “quality of life” facilities at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, nearly six months after they were closed amid concerns about a rise in coronavirus cases in the east African country.

Camp residents were able to again visit the base’s beauty salon as of Friday for all hair and nail services, officials said. The maximum capacity at the salon, which is open seven days a week, is three customers and face coverings are required. Waxing and massage services, however, remain unavailable.

Other locations that have reopened include the main recreation center; 11 Degrees North, the base bar; the swimming pool and various eateries.

“Camp leadership recognizes the quality of life needs for base residents, however stress that it cannot surpass the importance of health and safety amid a pandemic,” base officials said in a statement.

Access to many social locations and eateries on Camp Lemonnier had been restricted since March 22 as the number of cases of the coronavirus began to rise in Djibouti and 11 days after the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a pandemic. At the time, some 1,200 local nationals who work at the facility were blocked entry as part of an effort to control the virus’ spread.

There have been 5,388 confirmed cases of the virus and 61 deaths in Djibouti since the start of the outbreak, according to the WHO. The number of new infections in the country has declined sharply since the outbreak peaked there in late May.

The military has not reported any cases among service members in Djibouti but said a small number of contractors have been affected.

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