The U.S. Secretary of Defense, on March 11, announced new travel restrictions for 60 days for service members, DoD civilians and families traveling to, from, or through Level 3 locations, as designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
These restrictions are effective from March 13 and include all forms of travel, including Permanent Change of Station, Temporary Duty, and government-funded leave.
The CDC designates the following as Level 3 countries: Austria, Belgium, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Iran, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Vatican City.
“The Department of Defense’s top priority remains the protection and welfare of our people. While directing this prudent action, I continue to delegate all necessary authority to commanders to make further decisions based on their assessments to protect their people and ensure mission readiness. While we deal with this fluid and evolving situation, I remain confident in our ability to protect our service members, civilians and families,” said Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.
According to a Pentagon statement, service secretaries and commanders may issue waivers to this policy as they determine necessary to ensure mission readiness and address specific cases.
Additionally, for the next 60 days, concurrent official travel to Level 2 locations for families of service members and civilian personnel is denied. For the next 60 days, DoD will implement enhanced health care protocols for traveler safety and transition to the use of military or contracted aircraft for required travel to Level 2 or 3 locations.
DOD has also issued updated Force Health Protection guidance that requires a screening and 14-day self-monitoring at home upon return for all DOD personnel who have traveled from, to or through Level 2 or 3 countries.
“This policy will be reviewed prior to the end of the 60-day period to determine whether it will be modified or extended”, said the statement adding that “the Department will continue to issue additional guidance with regard to the COVID-19 as conditions warrant”.