Public Health Directive #3 – Mandatory Wear of Face Coverings or Face Masks

Public Health Directive #3 – Mandatory Wear of Face Coverings or Face Masks  (See official memo here)

1. As medical experts and scientists learn more about COVID-19, we must be quick to adapt and overcome the challenges this virus poses to the safety and readiness of all personnel on Vandenberg AFB. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (asymptomatic) and even those who eventually develop symptoms can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms (pre-symptomatic). This means that the virus can spread between individuals interacting in close proximity, even if those individuals are not exhibiting symptoms. Although previous guidance stated healthy people need not wear masks in public, it is possible an asymptomatic person can transmit the virus without knowing they are contagious. Wearing a face mask helps reduce the spread, and empowers all personnel at Vandenberg AFB to do our part to “flatten the curve.”

2. Accordingly, effective immediately, all personnel on Vandenberg AFB (including all military members, civilian employees, dependents, retirees, contractors, and any persons on the installation for any reason) shall wear a cloth face covering or face mask that covers the nose and mouth.

a. This includes, but is not limited to, all places where personnel are on-duty, all AAFES-operated services, the Commissary, the Post Office, the PCC, other MWR or food facilities, the Visitor Control Center (VCC), and Crestview Elementary School. Persons without a cloth face covering or face mask will not be permitted to enter these buildings. Exempted from this directive are persons in their personal residence (except for those on restriction, quarantine or isolation orders who must wear a cloth face covering or face mask when interacting with others), persons in their personal vehicles (alone or with family members), persons exercising (provided there is enough physical distance between the person exercising and others), and children under six (6) years of age.

b. Acceptable items include cloth/cotton masks, a neck gaiter, balaclavas, bandanas, scarves, or other suitable covering. These face coverings may be washed and re-worn. Military members in uniform, exercising professional discretion, should wear a face covering or mask that is conservative in appearance and neutral in color. Please do not use personal protective equipment such as N95 respirators or surgical masks as these should be reserved for medical professionals.

c. Security checkpoints may require the momentary lowering of face covers to verify identification.

3. It is important to know that wearing a face mask is not a substitute for the safety protocols implemented in earlier Public Health Directives, which are still in effect to protect the health of all on Vandenberg AFB:

a. Shelter-at-home. i. Travel outside your home should be limited to your place of employment and travel necessary for food, water, medication, health care, or to provide care for a family member

ii. Strictly limit the number of individuals participating in travel based on requirements and available childcare

iii. Short-duration excursions for physical and mental fitness are permitted, but should be limited to individual or family outings (e.g., running, walking, hiking, biking, walks on the beach, outdoor functional fitness, etc)

b. Physical Distancing. Wherever possible, all individuals are to maintain a minimum of six feet distance from other individuals.

c. No Meetings or Public Gatherings. Exceptions for mission- and service-essential activities must be approved at the squadron commander or higher level, with proper physical distancing and sanitization protocols in place.

d. Disciplined Personal Hygiene. Frequently wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using >60% alcohol hand sanitizer; avoid touching eyes/nose/mouth; no handshaking; sneeze/cough using facial tissue or the crook of your elbow; no sharing food/drink/towels/utensils.

e. Report Adverse Health Status. In addition to the requirements identified in Public Health Directive, 22 Mar 20, any individual tested for COVID-19, at any location, must contact the Medical Control Center at 805-606-9566 to facilitate Public Health’s effort to track the virus.

f. Follow Public Health Orders. If ordered or directed into restricted, quarantined, or isolated status, remain exclusively at your residence or other appropriate domicile and follow any related instructions; strict adherence to other measures as directed by the Public Health Emergency Officer (PHEO) is mandatory.

4. This memorandum is directive and will terminate when directed by the 30 SW/CC, in consultation with the PHEO. Any person who refuses to obey or otherwise violates its provisions may be detained and turned over to military or civilian authorities. For military members, violations are punishable under the UCMJ. For all personnel, violations are punishable under the United States Code (USC), to include 18 USC 1001, 18 USC 1382, and 42 USC 271. Additionally, any personnel who fail to adhere to this memorandum or subsequent orders may be subject to debarment (denied access to the installation).

Official CDC Guidance on wearing a face mask.