Playgrounds like this one on Fort Drum are now open for use, under new guidance for community members. (Photo by Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs)
Fort Drum officials issue new guidance on travel, services, facility openings
Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (June 5, 2020) – Effective today, Fort Drum and 10th Mountain Division (LI) officials have lowered the Health Protection Condition (HPCON) on post from HPCON C to HPCON B, moving from a high to moderate risk level for increased community transmission of COVID-19.
“Our move to HPCON B recognizes the hard work done to date to prevent the spread of the virus,” said Col. Jeffery Lucas, Fort Drum garrison commander. “It also represents a time where personal responsibility has never been more important to the ongoing response to this still very present, and very dangerous, virus.”
New guidance also is being issued to service members and their families about travel and facility reopenings.
Service members may travel within an extended radius of 200 miles with chain-of-command approval (a signed DA-31 from a lieutenant colonel). Travel to Canada is not authorized, as well as areas deemed high-risk for COVID-19 exposure – these are Albany, Erie, Monroe, Oneida and Onondaga counties in New York, and as well as Hampden County, Massachusetts. People traveling to authorized areas out of state should check that state’s travel restrictions before entering. Commanders are authorized to approve travel for medical appointments within the off-limits areas, except Canada.
Service members are not authorized to use commercial airlines, trains, buses or other public transportation. Taxi or car services may be used within the extended local travel area.
Fort Drum officials also ask family members to avoid traveling outside the 200-mile radius and in high-risk areas. If that occurs, or if visitors from those areas enter a home on post, the Soldier in that household has the responsibility to notify their chain of command of the travel and quarantine for two weeks.
Community playgrounds and dog parks on post are now open to the public. Parents and guardians are responsible for enforcing physical distancing measures for their children, and wearing face coverings is recommended. Regular hand washing or use of hand sanitizer is advised, as the staff will not clean playground equipment.
Outdoor social gatherings for service members are acceptable with no more than 25 people, while maintaining appropriate physical distancing guidelines. Off-post gatherings will be in accordance with New York Forward Reopening guidelines. Officials ask that people follow the same safety precautions when attending indoor gatherings and that indoor facilities not exceed 50-percent capacity.
Additionally, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation staff will update their fitness facilities hours – starting June 8 – and will introduce aquatics at Magrath Sports Complex for Soldiers in the Unbreakable Warrior Program. Patronage at the gyms is limited to active-duty service members only.
The RV Park and cabins will open June 8 for any DoD cardholders within the 200-mile travel radius (excluding off-limit counties).
Fort Drum dental clinics are currently open for limited procedures and will expand to routine procedures on June 8. Other facilities expected to reopen in the coming weeks will have limited hours and other restrictions. These include the Education Center, USO, 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum Museum, dining facilities and post chapels.
There are no changes to gate access status at Fort Drum. Non-DoD cardholders still require an exception to policy to enter post.
Lucas said that easing restrictions does not imply that people should become complacent with their own safety or that of the community.
“Our future will be defined by the personal responsibility that we exercise today,” he said. “We are a long way from being through with the pandemic. But if we continue on the path that we are on, if we stay the course and continue exercising personal responsibility that I see by and large, in and around our community, then we are going to be in very good shape.”
The next virtual town hall is scheduled at noon June 18 and will cover topics such as permanent-change-of-station moves. It will be livestreamed at www.facebook.com/drum.10thmountain.
To stay current on Fort Drum’s COVID-19 response, visit www.facebook.com/drum.10thmountain and https://home.army.mil/drum/index.php/about/Garrison/public-affairs/coronavirus-update.