Pentagon tightens workplace restrictions as COVID cases spike

DOD photo by Senior Airman Perry Aston  11th Wing Public Affairs 

The Pentagon will intensify workplace restrictions over the Thanksgiving holiday due to increased COVID-19 cases in the Washington, D.C. region.

Starting at 5 a.m. on Nov. 26, no more than 40% of the workforce will be allowed onto the Pentagon Reservation, with the remainder teleworking, the Defense Department’s chief management officer, Lisa Hershman, announced late Nov. 20.

“We are continually emphasizing to our people the need to take actions to protect themselves and those around them by employing protective measures, including practicing good hand washing, social distancing, wearing cloth face coverings, and taking appropriate actions if feeling sick now. These can dramatically decrease the risk of infection and slow COVID-19’s spread,” DOD said in a statement.

The decision came after evaluating health data from state and local governments, and nearby military installations. Positive cases in the Pentagon Reservation have trended up since August, while those in the D.C. area have followed suit since September. Maximum telework for all employees is still encouraged, especially for vulnerable persons who are encouraged to “remain at home until HPCON Alpha,” a limited status for when community transmission is lower.

Face coverings are mandated when social distancing isn’t possible and gatherings are limited to 25 people -- a 50% drop from current requirements. All visitors will be screened as will up to 15% of personnel upon entry.

About the Author

Lauren C. Williams is senior editor for FCW and Defense Systems, covering defense and cybersecurity.

Prior to joining FCW, Williams was the tech reporter for ThinkProgress, where she covered everything from internet culture to national security issues. In past positions, Williams covered health care, politics and crime for various publications, including The Seattle Times.

Williams graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a bachelor's in dietetics from the University of Delaware. She can be contacted at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.


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