When You Have to Travel: Preventing the Spread of COVID-19

 Current as of April 20, 2020


The Department of Defense has extended its travel restrictions for both domestic and overseas travel until June 30 to limit the spread of coronavirus disease 2019.

But sometimes travel can't be avoided. When you must travel or leave home because it is essential to the mission or personally necessary, the Department of Defense will 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.

Stay up to date on all the latest information on COVID-19. For Department of Defense updates for the military community regarding the virus that causes COVID-19, view the following sites:

Help and support are available through Military OneSource, including confidential non-medical counseling, to help you remain resilient.

Our understanding of COVID-19 is changing rapidly. Stay up to date by checking the Coronavirus Information for Our Military Community page for updates.