COVID-19 Impact on Marine Corps Activities and Base Access
This page will provide information and updates on the impact of COVID-19 on Marine Corps graduations, training, travel, etc. Keep in mind this information is changing fast and continuously. We will update each category on this page as soon as new updates are provided.
Please be aware, the Marine Corps doesn't have a road-map for the COVID-19 pandemic either, but they have to keep our troops safe. When the USMC provides answers and additional information, we will publish it on these pages of our website. Our take on this will be that the military will exercise more caution and keep civilians off the bases longer than what other populations and communities do in our country.
COVID-19 Impact on USMC, Marines, and Family Members
INFORMATION IS UPDATED DAILY. BE SURE TO CHECK EACH DAY FOR NEW UPDATES.
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Information by Marine Corps Career Stage
Additional Information and Help
Update to COVID-19 Travel Restrictions
The Secretary of Defense released a memorandum detailing the plan for transitioning to a conditions-based approach to the current military travel restrictions. The plan requires certain criteria to be met for the state/region as well the DoD installation and facilities.
These are the criteria the state or region must meet in order to authorize travel to and from these areas:
- Removal of shelter-in-place orders or other travel restrictions
- 14-day downward trajectory of flu-like and COVID-19-like symptoms; and
- 14-day downward trajectory of new COVID-19 cases or positive tests.
These are the factors for DOD installations, facilities, and locations:
- Removal of local travel restrictions;
- Availability of essential services (e.g., schools, childcare, moving services);
- Quality control/assurance capability for household goods packing and moving; and
- Favorable Health Protection Conditions
To read the full memorandum from the Secretary of Defense, click here.
Commanders Could Return Bases to Normal Operations Soon
The Secretary of Defense has updated guidance for base commanders to begin planning for a return to normal operations. Commanders must do so in a manner that continues to protect military personnel from further spread of COVID-19 while maintaining the operational readiness of the global force.
Base commanders must ensure the following criteria before proceeding with any changes:
- Downward trajectory of reported cases of influenza-like and COVID-like illnesses over the preceding 14-day period.
- Downward trajectory of documented COVID-19 cases or of positive tests as a percent of total tests over the preceding 14-day period.
- Military MTFs or local hospitals have the capacity to treat patients and have an adequate diagnostic COVID-19 testing program in place for at-risk healthcare workers and those exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.
To read the guidance in its entirety, click here.
Pentagon Orders Bases to Not Release Specific Covid-19 Numbers
Due to OPSEC concerns, the Pentagon has ordered military bases to stop releasing specific Covid-19 numbers.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper said last week, "What we want to do is give you aggregated numbers. But we're not going to disaggregate numbers because it could reveal information about where we may be affected at a higher rate than maybe some other places." As of Monday March 30, 569 active-duty service members, 220 civilian personnel, 190 family members, and 64 contractors have tested positive for Covid-19. For more information on the order from the Pentagon, click here.
From US Marine Corps
- UPDATE #5: U.S MARINE CORPS DISEASE CONTAINMENT PREPAREDNESS PLANNING GUIDANCE FOR 2019 NOVEL CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19): MARINE CORPS GUIDANCE ON THE USE OF CLOTH FACE COVERINGS
Date Signed: 4/6/2020 | MARADMINS Number: 218/20
- UPDATE #4: U.S MARINE CORPS DISEASE CONTAINMENT PREPAREDNESS PLANNING GUIDANCE FOR 2019 NOVEL CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19): DOD OCONUS STOP MOVEMENT
Date Signed: 3/26/2020 | MARADMINS Number: 193/20
From Defense.gov Website
DOD Press Releases COVID-19
- MAY 20, 2020:
Changing of Health Protection Condition Levels During COVID-19
- APRIL 20, 2020:
Update to Travel Restrictions
- APRIL 16, 2020:
Special Leave Accrual for Service Members
- APRIL 9, 2020:
Additional Guidance on Military Pay and Personnel Benefits: COVID-19
- APRIL 6, 2020:
DOD Guidance on the Use of Cloth Face Coverings
- APRIL 6, 2020:
DOD Coronavirus Response Webpage
- MARCH 25, 2020:
Overseas Stop Movement Order in Response to COVID-19
- MARCH 14, 2020:
Statement by the DOD on COVID-19 Response Measures on the Pentagon Reservation
- MARCH 13, 2020:
Statement by the Department of Defense on Domestic Travel Restrictions
- MARCH 11, 2020:
Update on DOD COVID-19 Measures
- MARCH 10, 2020:
Transcript: Defense Department Press Briefing
- MARCH 7, 2020:
Marine in Virginia Tests Positive
- MARCH 3, 2020:
Statement Regarding New York Times Article
- JAN. 31, 2020:
DOD Issues Guidelines to Personnel on Coronavirus
- APRIL 23, 2020:
Impact of Travel Restrictions on Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) Entitlements
- APRIL 23, 2020:
Hardship Duty Pay: Restriction of Movement
- APRIL 23, 2020:
Special and Incentive Pays
USO Airport Operations
Per the Department of Defense: Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, all USO Airport locations in the United States will temporarily suspend operations until further notice in order to maintain safe environments and avoid unnecessary risks of exposure.
Effective March 13, 2020, the Secretary of Defense has provided direction that public attendance at graduation ceremonies and related activities is prohibited, with no exceptions. This is across the board, and includes all graduations: Recruit Training (boot camp), SOI, MCT, WAB, and OCS.
LIVE Graduations on Facebook
For graduations that will be held and shown LIVE, MarineParents.com will create a WATCH PARTY in that Facebook group to share the event with members. At this time, there are no graduations scheduled with a LIVE feed. If you are not a member of our Facebook groups, click here to join one of our groups. (NOTE: You must answer all three questions to be approved as a group member.)
LIVE Parris Island Graduations
MCRD Parris Island will livestream all graduations during this period, which will be available on www.facebook.com/parrisisland during livestream and on www.mcrdpi.marines.mil and www.dvidshub.net/unit/MCRD-PI after the conclusion of graduation.
Thank you Tracy, we very much appreciate this new information. You and your group do so much for us and now in these trying times we know you are there to support us and our Marines. Thank you for helping us be strong in these trying times. Gail, Marine Mom
UPDATE: Due to the travel restrictions imposed, the DoD has now authorized members of the Armed Forces on active service to accumulate leave in excess of 60 days (no to exceed 120 days) during the period of March 11, 2020, until September 30, 2020. Those who qualify may retain unused leave until the end of Fiscal Year 2023. This does not apply to service members who would otherwise be authorized to accumulate leave in excess of 60 days as of October 1, 2020. This announcement was released in a memorandum by the Department of Defense.
The DOD has imposed restrictions on travel, and LEAVE is no exception to those restrictions.
Announced by DOD at 10:15 PM March 13, to be effective Monday, March 16: military personnel travel for leave will be limited to the local area in which the service member is stationed.
If a Marine is on leave now, s/he is required to return to base as scheduled.
The 10-day leave for newly graduated Marines after boot camp has been suspended through May 11. New Marines will take military transport immediately following graduation to their next schooling, SOI (ITB or MCT).
For all other Marines who have leave scheduled, it will be changed to LOCAL LEAVE ONLY. The "local leave" area is defined within a certain radius of the Marine's duty station. As an example, during a 96-hour leave, it's a 450 mile radius (which is 225 miles in any direction from the base). This is a general rule of thumb as the radius is typically determined by the unit's commanding officer. It is very possible the radius for "local leave" during COVID-19 will change.
Marine Parents Travel Assistance
Applications and processing applications for the MarineParents.com Travel Assistance Program (MPTA) to help families with financial need to attend graduations have been temporarily suspended. When the Secretary of Defense lifts the mandate for no public attendance at graduations, the program will resume. All donations received to date for graduations that have been impacted will be redirected to other companies for graduations when the situation resolves.
Warrior Support Team Dinners Suspended
We've had to put a halt to our dinners served through our program the Warrior Support Team at Bethesda and Balboa. This is for the safety and well being of both the patients and our volunteers. However, our outreach continues by sending information and reintegration bags to those service members and veterans who need our help. To learn more about our reintegration bags, see http://warriorsupportteam.com/reintegration-bags.asp. To donate to the program, visit https://marineparentsinc.com/.
The purpose of the DOD imposed travel restrictions is to protect our fighting forces from contracting the Coronavirus during these uncertain times. Travel restrictions from the DOD are changing continually during the pandemic. These travel restrictions have been extended through June 30. Please see the red bar above with a PDF file for travel FAQ from the DOD.
Additionally, see this page for press releases from the DOD on travel. We are updating this as often as the DOD sends out press releases.
Currently, there are some military bases that are closed to visitors. If you need to get on a military base, we recommend calling the visitor's office first to gain more clarity.
Service members may be financially impacted by the travel restrictions and closures due to coronavirus. Any service members affected should check with their service relief organization to see if emergency help is available to them. These relief organizations are:
April 5, 2020 Message from the Commandant and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
OPSEC AND COVID-19:
Reporting COVID-19 Testing and Results Among Military
As part of our POSTING RULE 2: OPSEC and PERSEC, discussion or speculation on the numbers of troops or location of troops being tested or having tested for COVID-19 will not be permitted. Posting COVID-19 testing results of military members will not be permitted. There are no exceptions to this rule.
For obvious reasons, specific information about the health of our military forces is a direct violation of OPSEC.
Stating information about any Marine or recruit, your own or otherwise, testing for COVID-19 as it relates to their job duties as a military member (whether the results are positive or negative) is a violation of PERSEC and will not be permitted. Discussions of COVID-19 within your family are permitted as long as you do not identify the individual and do not state military affiliation.
FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
Monday, March 30, 2020: Pentagon spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said in a statement on Monday "As we continue to grapple with the novel nature of COVID19, we are constantly assessing and adapting not only how we respond to combatting the virus, but also how we share critical public health information with our communities." Farah also said "We will not report the aggregate number of individual service member cases at individual unit, base or Combatant Commands. We will continue to do our best to balance transparency in this crisis with operational security."