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Ellsworth AFB loosens restrictions on bars, restaurants, movie theaters

By MORGAN MATZEN | The Rapid City Journal | Published: June 19, 2020

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (Tribune News Service) — Ellsworth Air Force Base announced via Facebook that it will transition to HPCON B+ effective immediately, a slight downgrade from the status of HPCON B, which is defined as a COVID-19 outbreak or heightened exposure risk according to the post.

HPCON stands for health protection conditions, which are reviewed by commanders and updated based on risk levels within a local community.

“This definition more accurately reflects the local conditions we are in,” the post states. “Make no mistake that COVID-19 is still present in the surrounding area and it is still a real threat that can impact you, your family or your co-workers if the right precautions are not taken by all.”

New exceptions to the rule include new dining precautions, and members can also visit both indoor and outdoor movie theaters that follow social distancing.

Dine-in at restaurants is allowed if those establishments require employees to wear face coverings and maintain appropriate physical distancing with seating, regardless if the seating is inside or outside. Members can also sit at bars inside restaurants if social distancing is maintained, and the server wears a mask.

For bars and restaurants that don’t use these precautions, members must leave or use carry-out, takeout or drive-through options.

Ellsworth AFB said if there is a COVID-19 outbreak in the military community or large spike locally, they will have to revert to HPCON C and implement stricter restrictions.

The base reminded members via the post that the following restrictions are still the same, and are reflected in the new General Restriction Order:

Rallies, nightclubs, casinos, arcades, concerts, amusement parks, water parks, fairs and trampoline parks etc. all remain off limits due to the elevated risks these locations pose.

Continue to wear masks on the base when you cannot maintain physical distancing and off base when you enter any business.

Parties are still not allowed. We are looking at allowing more unit social activities in controlled environments with the proper precautions.

Visitors are still not allowed on the installation other than by exception to policy.

The one hour travel rule, with approved exceptions for National Parks, remains in place. When and if we are designated a “Green” installation, this travel/leave policy will change to allow members to take leave outside of the local area.

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