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Public health emergency at Academy extended for 30 days, some restrictions lifted May 1

Story by Ray Bowden, April 27, 2020

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — After the base commander extended the public health emergency at the Air Force Academy until May 23, Col. Brian Hartless, 10 Air Base Wing Commander, also announced he intends to reopen parts of the base, a move in line with Colorado Gov. Jared Polis’ “safer at home” order.

Polis announced his order to govern the phased reopening of some businesses in the state April 26.

Hartless said barring any uptick in the number of coronavirus cases in Colorado Springs, El Paso County or the State, and pending further updates from the Academy’s Public Health officials, it is his intention to open some previously closed services and expand shopping privileges starting May 1.

“These changes do not mean we will return to normal,” Hartless said. “The COVID-19 situation continues to evolve and protecting the health of our military and civilian force and our families will remain our top priority.”

Hartless limited access to all but official business March 23 to those who work or live on the installation, need medical or pharmacy services or maintain equestrian center care of animals and maintenance of recreational vehicles on base.

“The official business only measures put into place last month appear to have reduced the potential spread of the novel coronavirus at the base,” he said. “Based on the current state of the pandemic in the community, we have determined we can reopen some services, but with mitigating measures in place to prevent any spread of the disease.”

Expected Changes

Community Center Fitness Center

— The Community Center Fitness Center will open May 1 to active duty service members who live and work at the Academy. Workouts are limited to cardio equipment and weightlifting and the number of people allowed in the gym will be limited. Masks or cloth face coverings are required. The pool, basketball court, sauna, showers and classes are not available.

Eisenhower Golf Course

— The golf course will open on a limited basis starting May 1. Golfers are required to pay for reservations online and bring their own equipment. “Walk-ins” are not allowed and the tavern and snack bar will not be open.

Shopping

— Starting May 1, shopping on base is official business for those who live off base and have Main Exchange and Commissary privileges. Shopping periods will remain in place for senior citizens, cadets and permanent party who live and work on base from noon to closing, each day. All eligible members in the local community will be allowed to shop.

Many measures set in place will continue for the near future, including teleworking, physical distancing, and use of face coverings, hand washing and zoning of the work force. Officials should remind everyone to stay home if their sick and seek medical care if appropriate, Hartless said.

Additional rules concerning the gym, golf course and shopping will be announced in the near future.

“We thank you and your families for your support and strength as we continue to respond to this unprecedented situation,” Hartless said. “The strategic importance of our mission at the Air Force Academy truly resonates with me. “The health of our force and our families at the Air Force Academy remains strong and continues to enable us to execute that mission.”

Visit www.usafa.af.mil/Coronavirus for more information.