Leave and Liberty now Exempt from COVID Travel Restrictions

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By MC1 Mark D. Faram, Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs. ,

WASHINGTON (NNS) — Effective immediately, leave and liberty outside the local area of your command is exempt from ongoing COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper approved the leave exemption for all military on June 29. The Navy’s rules for implementation came in NAVADMIN 189/20 on July 2.

Approval authority for leave outside of the local area will be determined by the echelon 2 commander. Delegation of that authority can not be lower than the unit commanding officer, officer-in-charge or equivalent — Branch Head, Division Director, etc.

All other guidance for transitioning from a stop movement to a conditions-based phased approach to personnel movement and travel, remains in place.

“Commanders and supervisors will conduct a risk assessment of the health status and travel itinerary for personnel requesting leave or liberty outside the local area,” wrote Vice Adm. John B. Nowell, Jr., the Navy’s top uniformed official in the message.

Commands also have the responsibility of reviewing a Sailor’s travel plans to verify they have a plan to both keep themselves safe, as well as ensure they don’t become a vector of infection when they return.

Sailors should not go on leave or liberty out of the local area if they have a fever or display any other symptoms that could indicate COVID-19 infection. In addition, Sailors should not travel if they have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus within the past 14 days.

Before departure, commands must establish with their travelers a means of reliable communication. This allows for quick access for reacting to any circumstances that arise during leave or liberty.

While traveling away from their home area, Navy Service members must comply with any Department of Defense, federal, state, or local restrictions in place due to COVID-19.

The latest DoD policies are at

Travel Restrictions: Green Locations, June 19, 2020

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Here’s a link to see the updated list that is driving all of our travel and PCS moves:

Travel Restrictions: Green Locations, June 19, 2020

COVID-Related Updates on PCSing/Travel, Promotion Boards, and Changes to Military Health System

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Here are two good documents that explain the recent PCS/travel updates:

Conditions-Based Movement Fact Sheet

PCS Restart Fact Sheet-QA


Here is a newsletter with an article on the restarting of promotion boards:

MyNavy Sailor to Sailor – JUNE 2020

In brief, it says:

  • Although the boards were postponed, those who are selected for promotion can expect to be assigned the original date of rank and receive any back pay and allowances they’re warranted.
  • Sailors’ Official Military Personnel Files will be reviewed as of the original board convening date and their eligibility will remain the same.
  • Deadlines for letters to the board remain the same as originally set, except for the Reserve E-7 Board, which had a deadline of May 18, 2020, to compensate for delays in their eligibility determination. The remaining deadlines remain the same to maintain a fair and impartial balance across the fleet, but Sailors are encouraged to submit a letter if they feel their eligibility is unclear.
  • Officer promotion boards require additional reviews and results are expected to be approved and announced 100 days after a board adjourns.


Here’s a link to and Federal News Network articles about MHS changes:

Big Changes to Military Health System Will Be Delayed, Top Health Official Says

DoD pressing ahead with plans to close, realign medical facilities despite GAO warnings

COVID-Related Update – Travel and More

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There have been a number of COVID-related updates in the last few days, and as a result this is a long post. Sorry.

Here are the summaries and links to more information:

Force Health Protection Guidance – Supplement 10

On Thursday, the department released the Force Health Protection Guidance – Supplement 10, which provides guidance on clinical and diagnostic COVID-19 testing for eligible persons with a DOD connection suspected of having contracted COVID-19, and applies Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) testing guidance to the DOD context. DOD Components will continue to employ clinical diagnostic testing in accordance with this guidance. This guidance does not prohibit or impede surveillance, screening, and asymptomatic testing conducted to decrease operational risk within DoD, consistent with applicable law.

Testing Considerations

  • Healthcare providers will use their clinical judgment to guide diagnostic testing for COVID-19. See Attachment 1 for case management and disposition guidance. Providers are encouraged to test for other causes of respiratory illness as clinically indicated. The CDC testing priorities may be found at:
  • In the clinical setting, asymptomatic individuals may be tested based on a clinician’s judgment and as deemed appropriate by public health professionals.
  • DOD Components must ensure appropriate infection prevention and control procedures are followed throughout the entire testing process. This includes employing the appropriate biosafety precautions when collecting and handling specimens, consistent with CDC guidance.

Approved Diagnostic Laboratories and Tests

  • DOD Components will conduct diagnostic testing at clinically approved laboratories.
  • DOD Components must comply with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations for diagnostic testing, including by complying with COVID-19 emergency use authorizations (EUAs). The FDA COVID-19 EUA list is at:
  • COVID-19 testing capabilities are synchronized by the DoD COVID-19 Task Force Diagnostics and Testing Line of Effort, with input from the Defense Health Agency’s Center for Laboratory Medicine Services (CLMS). CLMS may be contacted at:

Eligibility of DoD Personnel, Other Beneficiaries, and Other Populations for Testing

  • DOD Components may test Service members (including the Reserve Component, which includes National Guard personnel when in a title 10 or title 32 duty status) in accordance with this guidance.
  • DOD civilian employees (who are not otherwise DoD health care beneficiaries) may be offered testing in accordance with this guidance and reference (b) if their supervisor has determined that their presence is urgently required in the DoD workplace.
  • DOD family members who are eligible Military Health System beneficiaries may be offered testing in accordance with this guidance.
  • Employees of DOD contractors will use the processes for medical care to access testing as set forth in the terms of the contract under which they are performing. As necessary, existing contracts should be modified to set forth processes to provide access to testing.
  • For testing of local national employees in locations outside the United States, DOD Components should refer to country-specific labor agreements or contracts and consult with supporting legal counsel for guidance and any limitations concerning such tests.

The guidance can be found here.


Force Health Protection Guidance – Supplement 11

On Thursday, the department released the Force Health Protection Guidance – Supplement 11, which provides guidance on the Department of Defense surveillance strategy for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic response, including health surveillance activities, screening, asymptomatic testing, and sentinel surveillance testing. The DOD surveillance and screening strategy is designed to break the chain of disease transmission to reduce risk to the force and to DOD missions.

The guidance details information on the following:

  • Health Surveillance Activities
  • Screening, Restriction of Movement, and Asymptomatic Testing for Operational Risk Reduction
  • COVID-19 Sentinel Surveillance
  • COVID-19 Contact Tracing and Testing
  • Guidance for Specific DOD Populations

The guidance can be found here.


Navy Mitigation Measures in Response to Coronavirus Outbreak Update 5

This NAVADMIN is long and can be seen here. Reading it, the topic it addresses is:

This NAVADMIN...transitions the stop movement approach to domestic and overseas 
personnel travel to a conditions-based, phased approach to lifting of travel 

Anyone PCSing will want to give it a read. Any questions should be directed to your Detailer. My Detailing hat is too old to give you an official answer.


Navy Prioritizes PCS Moves

Here’s a link to this Navy article summarizing the PCS changes.


Permanent Change of Station Post Stop Movement Priority Plan

Here’s what this NAVADMIN, which is also long, deals with:

This NAVADMIN details how Navy Personnel Command (NPC) will work to 
eliminate the temporary backlog of five months of Sailors due to transfer as 
locations and installations achieve the conditions outlined in reference (b).   
There are 42,000 Sailors with Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders 
delayed due to COVID- 19.  As conditions allow for the easing of stop 
movement orders, household goods (HHG) and transportation logistics will 
initially limit the number of Sailors that can be moved at one time.

Again, anyone PCSing will want to give it a read. Any questions should be directed to your Detailer. My Detailing hat is too old to give you an official answer.


Travel Restrictions: Green Locations, June 12, 2020

The Secretary of Defense recently signed a memo, moving to a conditions-based, phased approach to personnel movement and travel. As of today, the following locations meet the conditions to lift travel restrictions, subject to the assessment of conditions at individual military installations within these areas. These criteria are: 1) removal of shelter-in-place orders or other travel restrictions 2) 14-day downward trajectory of flu-like and COVID-19-like symptoms; and 3) 14-day downward trajectory of new COVID-19 cases or positive tests. The secretaries of the military departments, commanders of the combatant commands, and the chief management officer will assess specific DOD installations, facilities, or locations under their purview.

U. S. (39)

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

Host Nations (7)

  • Bahrain
  • Belgium
  • Germany
  • Guam
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • United Kingdom

More information on the update to the travel restrictions can be found here.