Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson imposes new measures to slow spread of COVID-19
By AUBREY WIEBER | Anchorage Daily News | Published: November 10, 2020
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(Tribune News Service) — Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson is under a new public health declaration due to sustained community spread of COVID-19.
The 30-day declaration was announced Monday evening by base commander Col. Kristen Aguilar in a video and written statement. It can be extended or shortened as needed.
The release and video did not say how many COVID-19 cases have been reported on the base. JBER first imposed a public health declaration in March, when seven of the state's 32 cases were on base. In October, leaders announced airmen and soldiers were to avoid Anchorage bars and dining in at restaurants.
The declaration allows base commanders to force quarantine and other restrictions of movement for anyone on base, according to the statement.
Aguilar announced several measures to combat spread of the virus, which will apply to anyone accessing the base. Mask-wearing is mandatory for anyone over 2 years old who is not alone or outside and physically distant from others.
Aguilar said military members are prohibited from eating food or drinking alcohol as a dine-in customer at any establishment off base, and anyone who does so could be denied access to the base.
Aguilar said those with access to the base will retain it, but new passes will only be issued by the commander.
Indoor gatherings on base are limited to two family groups going forward. Military members are not permitted to participate in indoor gatherings with more than two family groups off base, and anyone violating the policy could have their access denied.
Religious gatherings, schools, commercial establishments and some outdoor gatherings are exempt.
Aguilar implored anyone who plans to enter JBER property to read a memo outlining the restrictions and exemptions. Anyone found to be in violation of the orders faces up to a $1,000 fine and a year in prison.
Aguilar acknowledged the physical, mental and spiritual impacts of such measures, and encouraged those impacted by the restrictions to strengthen relationships with people within their permissible "bubble."
"Even as this public health emergency is constraining the way we traditionally get together, it does not completely stop it," she said.