Pentagon officials late Friday announced a halt on all domestic travel for U.S. troops, civilian personnel and their families for the next two months just hours after President Trump declared the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency.
“These restrictions are necessary to preserve force readiness, limit the continuing spread of the virus, and preserve the health and welfare of service members, DOD civilian employees, their families and the local communities where in which we live,” a Department of Defense memo said.
During the restrictions, in effect March 16-May 11, troops will be allowed only “authorized local leave.”
Exceptions include mission-essential travel, humanitarian reasons, extreme hardship, medical travel and other case-by-case situations.
Those who have already started traveling may continue to their final destination, the memo said.
Troops pending retirement and separation are also exempt.
“The Department will continue to issue additional guidance with regard to the COVID-19 as conditions warrant,” the DOD said. “Our goal is to remain ahead of the virus spread so our military force remains effective and ready.”
The announcement comes days after restrictions were placed on overseas travel for all DOD employees, according to The Air Force Times.