As President Donald Trump declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a national emergency on Friday, military resale, schools and support services worldwide updated guidance and plans in an attempt to deal with the virus, formally known as COVID-19.
Here's the latest. This story will be updated.
Commissary officials said they are working with stores worldwide to reduce panic shopping and make sure shelves stay stocked. Military Police were called Friday to assist with crowd control at Fort Hamilton, New York, where a shopping cart shortage resulted in long lines, commissary officials said, and officials instituted limits on some cleaning and paper products.
"What we're experiencing today is unprecedented shopping," said Richard Brink, Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) spokesman. "Our message to customers is to try to shop while considering others so there's product available for as many people as possible."
Related: Military.com's COVID-19 coverage
Because of that shopper increase, officials said they are airlifting supplies to help with stock overseas.
"We are countering delays of shipboard supply containers by increasing air shipments of high-demand items to our overseas stores as needed," they said in a release. "In the Pacific theater alone, for example, the agency has airlifted multiple shipments of high-demand items to supplement the stock in its central distribution centers (CDC) that support commissaries in that geographic region."
DeCA officials also announced cancellations to upcoming sidewalk sales and store events, including Vietnam Veterans Day commemorations.
Officials at the Navy Exchange said they are not experiencing any shipping delays and are working to restock items. They also announced plans to use Navy Lodges as quarantine sites.
"As deemed necessary by the DoD or [Department of the Navy], the Navy Lodge Program is prepared for any of its 39 facilities worldwide to be used as an official isolation or quarantine site," NEX CEO Robert Bianchi said in a statement.
The Army and Air Force Exchange (AAFES) and Marine Corps Exchange (MCX) had not made any official announcements about virus response as of Friday evening.
Across the U.S., many schools operated on bases by local school districts announced plans to extend spring breaks or close next week to curb the spread of the virus.
Defense Department Education Activity (DoDEA) schools at Fort Knox, Kentucky, will remain closed through April 3, the only U.S. schools in the system to thus far make such an announcement. Classes for those students will occur online starting March 17, school officials said.
Almost all DoDEA schools in Europe have announced plans to stay closed next week, officials said, except for those in the U.K., which will remain open for the time being.
-- Amy Bushatz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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