Pentagon Reservation workers no longer need masks

For the first time this year DoD employees in Arlington County, Va. will not need a face covering indoors.

For the first time since the Delta variant struck last year, workers in the Pentagon Reservation will not have to wear masks inside.

The news comes as the reservation dropped its health protection condition (HPCON) from Charlie to Bravo on Wednesday. Facilities outside of Arlington County, Va., where the main Pentagon building is located, will follow the mask rules of their local communities.

In addition to dropping the mask mandate, HPCON Bravo affords the Pentagon with more workspace capacity and allow for larger meetings.

Maximum occupancy rates for offices increase from 25% to 50% and gatherings can now include up to 49 people.

The Pentagon says it is still telling commanders and supervisors to provide maximum telework opportunities and allow extra telework precautions for those who are medically vulnerable.

The Pentagon Reservation will remain closed to tours, that includes the 9/11 Memorial, and the athletic center will be open to 255 people at a time.

The food court will also open indoor seating.

“DoD remains committed to protecting our people, maintaining mission readiness, and supporting the whole-of-government effort response to COVID-19,” Pentagon officials wrote in a statement. “We are continually emphasizing to our people the requirement to get fully vaccinated for COVID-19, and encouraging everyone eligible to get a booster shot and take actions to protect themselves and those around them by employing protective measures, including practicing good hand washing, social distancing, wearing tight-fitting face coverings, and taking appropriate actions if feeling sick now. These can dramatically decrease the risk of infection and slow COVID-19’s spread.”

The Pentagon raised its HPCON to Charlie on Jan. 7 as the Omicron variant was starting to take hold.

The Pentagon had been operating at Bravo Plus before that, an intermediary condition between Charlie and Bravo.

Arlington County has a seven-day moving average of 29 COVID cases a day. That’s down from a peak of about 650 in mid-January.

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