Starting tonight at 8 p.m., unaccompanied youth under the age of 18 will no longer be allowed in public places at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, officials announced on the installation Facebook page.
“In response to the COVID-19 outbreak and out of an abundance of caution, the US Army Fort Belvoir Garrison Commander, COL Michael Greenberg, has established a temporary curfew for Fort Belvoir minors,” the announcement reads. “No persons 17 years of age or younger may be in a public place on Fort Belvoir after 8 p.m. or before 6 a.m.”
The curfew “is intended to enhance personal security and social distancing, as part of the installation’s continued COVID-19 prevention measures,” said Joe Richard, the base public affairs director, in an email to Military Times.
“It will remain in effect until the Fort Belvoir Garrison Commander determines it is no longer necessary in support of efforts to reduce the COVID-19 threat. Fort Belvoir residents, employees and guests understand and support the efforts to reduce the impact COVID-19 has on mission readiness and the health and safety of the service members, families, civilians, retirees, who are a part of the Fort Belvoir community."
It is unclear if any other Army installations have enacted a similar youth curfew in response to the pandemic.
All military bases are now at HPCON Charlie, meaning there is substantial and sustained community transmission of a virus or disease. Under those conditions personnel can expect cancellations of in-person gatherings and restricted travel, among other measures, according to the Army Public Health Center.
And while these measures essentially limit staffing on installations to “mission-essential” personnel, Army officials have issued no guidance to do so, said Army Col. Kathleen Turner.
There are now 309 service members, 134 civilians, 108 dependents, and 62 contractors who have tested positive for coronavirus, according to the latest numbers released Friday morning.
That reflects a 10-percent increase in troops and dependents but marks the first 24-hour period this week where no new DoD civilian or contractor cases were reported.
Thursday, however, saw the second DoD-affiliated death from the pandemic — a Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, soldier’s spouse, the installation commander confirmed. The first confirmed death was a Crystal City, Virginia-based Pentagon contractor.
Friday’s numbers put troops’ infection rate at 238 per million, still ahead of the overall U.S. rate of 209 per million, though the general public is closing the gap.
The overall U.S. death rate, however, continues to far outpace the armed forces: 1.5 percent to zero within active duty personnel, and 0.3 percent of overall DoD cases.