On Tuesday, the department released the Holiday Season Guidance to Minimize Spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019, which supplements existing guidance in DOD Force Health Protection Supplements, military installation orders, and Combatant Command disease prevention guidelines, as well as other state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations.
The memo advises service members and DOD employees to follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to minimize the spread of COVID-19 during the holiday season. The CDC guidance is found here. Relevant CDC recommendations include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Gatherings can contribute to the spread of other infectious diseases, thus getting an influenza vaccination is an essential part of protecting your health and family.
- Do not travel or attend gatherings if recently diagnosed with COVID-19 and not yet met the criteria for when it is safe to be around others; have symptoms of COVID-19; are awaiting test results; may have been exposed to someone who has contracted COVID-19 within the last 14 days; or are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
- During travel and during gatherings, wear a face covering, avoid close contact, wash your hands, avoid contact with sick individuals, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Limit the duration and the number of people at gatherings as much as possible.
- Outdoor activities are safer than indoor activities. If you attend an indoor event, avoid crowded, poorly ventilated, and fully enclosed indoor spaces. Increase ventilation by opening windows and doors to the extent that it is safe and feasible based on the weather.
- Check with the event host, organizer, or event venue for updated information about any COVID-19 safety guidelines that will be in place to prevent the spread of the virus.
Current DOD travel guidelines remain in effect and are provided in Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Memorandum, “Force Health Protection Guidance (Supplement 12), Department of Defense Guidance for Personnel Traveling during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic,” dated August 6, 2020, which can be found here.