New rules on combating the spread of the novel coronavirus now require the wearing of face masks just about everywhere inside and outside the Pentagon, the Defense Department said Tuesday.
In a memo, DoD Chief Management Officer Lisa Hershman said that, "effective immediately," all military personnel, civilian employees, contractors, family members and anyone else entering the Pentagon Reservation will have to wear face coverings where they can't maintain six feet of separation.
The six-foot rule applies inside and outside the building, and includes bus and subway stops, lines to obtain products or services, parking lots, sidewalks, entrances and exits, hallways, elevators, escalators, bathrooms, concessions and ATMs, Hershman said.
Face coverings are also required in cubicles where workers are less than six feet apart and in conference rooms, but personnel "may remove facial coverings while working inside a private office, cubicle or workspace where at least six feet of social distance is strictly maintained," according to the memo.
For the time being, the face coverings will be do-it-yourself, the memo states. "All individuals are encouraged to fashion face coverings from household items or common materials, such as clean T-shirts or other clean cloths that completely cover the nose and mouth area."
The service branches are expected to issue guidance soon on face coverings for service members working at the Pentagon. Until then, "fabric in a neutral color without a pattern may be worn," it adds.
The purpose of the new Pentagon rules is to "slow the spread of COVID-19 by reducing transmission from people who do not realize they have contracted the virus," according to the memo.
-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.