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Navy allows commanders to relax hair-grooming standards to help stop coronavirus’ spread

A Navy recruit gets her hair cut at Recruit Training Command Great Lakes, Ill., Sept. 19, 2018.

SPENCER FLING/U.S. NAVY

By THERON GODBOLD | STARS AND STRIPES Published: March 19, 2020

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The Navy is allowing commanding officers to temporarily relax some hair-grooming standards to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, according to a message issued Thursday by the chief of naval operations.

The idea is to promote social distancing — something that’s difficult to do when sitting in a barber’s chair.

Commanders may tolerate longer, bulkier hair on the top, back and sides, but “at no time will relaxed grooming interfere with the proper wearing of Navy head gear and proper use of protective personal equipment (helmets, masks, hoods, etc.),” the message states.

However, regulations on hairstyles, facial hair and sideburns still hold sway. That means only neat and closely trimmed mustaches and no beards.

“Good judgment of leaders at all levels of the chain of command is required to ensure all possible [coronavirus] force health protection precautions are being taken,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said in the message.

The order has no expiration date but holds until it’s superseded by new guidance.

godbold.theron@stripes.com
Twitter: @TheronGodbold

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