Service members sitting in a plane

Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 as Travel Restrictions Loosen

 Current as of June 3, 2020

Testing and Surveillance for COVID-19

Learn about the DOD’s expanded testing for coronavirus disease 2019 and other measures to detect the disease early and stop its spread.

Conditions are beginning to improve with regard to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. In response, the Department of Defense is changing its approach to personnel movement and travel.

Officials signed a memo May 26 to transition to a conditions-based phased approach to the restrictions. Until further notice, the DOD will base decisions on conditions in specific areas. This replaces the broad travel restrictions in place before.

The memo cancels previous travel restrictions and reissues guidance that will remain in effect until further notice.

With restrictions gradually easing, it’s even more important to take every precaution to protect yourself and others when you do travel. And the DOD will continue to work with you to keep you and our community healthy and safe.

Wearing cloth face coverings

Military personnel, families and supporting civilian members serve as role models during extremely challenging times. One way you can do this now is to take steps to protect yourself and others whenever you need to go out. This includes following Department of Defense and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance for wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing may be hard to maintain. This can slow the spread of the virus and help people who may unknowingly have it from transmitting it to others.

  • Create your own cloth face coverings using common household items such as T-shirts, scarves and bandanas. Making and using these coverings helps protect public health while reserving critical supplies such as surgical masks and N-95 respirators for medical first responders, as current CDC guidance recommends.
  • Do not place cloth face coverings on children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without help.
  • Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth when removing your face covering. Wash your hands as soon as you finish.
  • Wear your face covering whenever you are on Department of Defense property, installations (except personal residences) and facilities when 6 feet of social distance isn’t possible in public areas or work centers.

Preventing the spread of COVID-19 during travel

The Department of Defense is taking steps to protect travelers and others from COVID-19 by:

  • Prescreening service members before travel: Only those who are healthy and least at risk of severe illness from COVID-19 will be allowed to travel
  • Using military and contracted planes for travel to or from overseas locations, when possible
  • Screening all passengers on military flights for signs of illness before they board the plane
  • Screening all service members, family and civilian military employees when they arrive at their duty station after traveling commercially

The screening includes a questionnaire to help determine whether you may have been exposed to COVID-19. Someone will take your temperature and visually check you for signs of illness. There may be additional screenings depending on where you traveled and other risk factors.

Overseas travel

Travelers returning from any overseas location will be quarantined for 14 days. If you live in open quarters or have a shared kitchen or bathroom, you will be moved to separate lodging for quarantine.

During those 14 days:

  • Take your temperature twice a day.
  • Keep at least 6 feet away from others.
  • Call your doctor if you have a fever, cough, shortness of breath or other symptoms of COVID-19.

What you can do

Everyone has a role in stopping the spread of COVID-19. When you are traveling, keep your command updated on your itinerary. If you feel sick, stay home. Notify your leadership and call your doctor.

Even if you haven’t traveled and you feel fine, practice social distancing and wear your cloth face covering. Keep at least 6 feet away from others. Avoid crowds and wash your hands often.

Understanding of COVID-19 continues to change, so continue to check our Coronavirus Updates for Our Military Community page for updates.

Want to find the phone number for your installation’s housing office or Military and Family Support Center? Find those and more on MilitaryINSTALLATIONS, an online information directory for military installations worldwide.

For updates and information specific to your location, visit your installation’s official website. You can also follow your installation’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram platforms. For Department of Defense updates for the military community:

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