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More than 40 states, countries now meet criteria to lift travel restrictions for service members and families

By CAITLIN M. KENNEY | STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 8, 2020

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WASHINGTON — Almost 40 states and five countries have met conditions to allow for service members and their families to travel during the coronavirus pandemic, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper signed a memorandum May 22 that laid out the conditions needed for locations to allow for travel to and from bases. Esper had put in place stop-movement orders on official travel for all Defense Department personnel and their families in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Pentagon’s list only includes states and countries that have met conditions to lift travel restrictions as of Monday. No specific military installations in these states or countries are listed.

The criteria that states and countries must meet to become “green locations,” or allow for lifting restrictions, are the removal of shelter-in-place orders or travel restrictions, a 14-day decline in flu or virus symptoms, and a 14-day decline in new cases or positive tests, according to the Pentagon statement. 

Each installation or department facility will be assessed by its military service and combatant commanders to determine whether to lift travel restrictions based on local conditions and service availabilities, even if they are in a green location. These conditions include lifting of local travel restrictions, availability of essential services such as child care, and sufficient medical treatment facility capacity, according to Esper’s memo.

Service members should work with their chain of command or their military service to see if an installation has lifted travel restrictions, Jessica Maxwell, a Pentagon spokeswoman, wrote Monday in an email.

Locations that are not included on the green locations list are still under the stop-movement order, which has been extended indefinitely. States and host nations can have their travel restrictions reassessed if there is “any subsequent significant change” from local outbreaks, according to Esper’s memo.

As of Monday, the list of 39 green states includes some of those that had the most cases of the virus in the United States, such as New York and Massachusetts. Virginia, where the Pentagon is located, is not on the list, but the District of Columbia and Maryland are.

South Korea, seen as an early success story at the start of the pandemic in its strict shutdown and testing policies, is not on the list. Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, and Bahrain are the only host nations that have met the conditions to allow for travel as of Monday.

Kenney.Caitlin@stripes.com
Twitter: @caitlinmkenney

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