The Pentagon Reservation is extending its maximum telework policy for employees until the end of January 2022 in response to widespread COVID-19 infections caused by the omicron variant.
“Protecting our workforce while performing our national security mission remains the Secretary of Defense’s number one priority during the COVID-19 pandemic. Supervisors will continue to provide maximum telework opportunities and flexible scheduling to optimize the workforce while defending our nation, taking care of our people, and ensuring success through teamwork,” a Tuesday statement from the Pentagon reads.
The Pentagon Reservation will remain at Health Protection Condition (HPCON) Bravo Plus, as it has since September.
In addition to extending the max telework policy, DoD has extended its limitation of official visitors to the Pentagon Reservation to the minimum required for mission critical meetings. Unofficial visitors will not be able to enter through the end of January.
Agencies operating on the reservation are expected to maintain occupancy rates at less than 40% normal levels.
DoD is continuing to encourage all personnel to get the COVID-19 booster shot. Additionally, DoD suggests personnel consider using a COVID home test kit before returning to the building from federal holiday.
Employees should also stay home if they show any signs of illness.
DoD moved into HPCON Bravo Plus after the delta variant began to take hold. Before that, DoD relaxed its condition to Bravo, which allowed for 50% occupancy and gatherings of up to 50 people.
Military installations are under independent regulations from the Pentagon Reservation on HPCON status depending on the severity of outbreaks in the region.
Additionally, military bases have travel restrictions set by commanders and DoD policy, which keeps most service members at that station from moving to new orders or traveling far from the installation.
As of Dec. 22, 90% of military bases had lifted those travel restrictions, however, that may change as omicron continues to move across the globe.
At last count, 7-day moving averages of new COVID cases in the United States were at about 237,000. That number rivals peak numbers during the pandemic from January.