JBER requires service members to wear masks off-base, avoid activities without COVID-19 mitigation

Military leaders at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson have ordered all personnel to wear masks indoors while off base and to avoid situations where there are no COVID-19 mitigation protocols.

The order issued by base commander Col. Kirsten Aguilar applies to everyone who lives, works, visits or recreates on the base north of Anchorage.

The new JBER rules were published as the Anchorage Assembly continues to debate a proposed citywide mask mandate, which Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson has repeatedly criticized. The contentious debate was set to continue for a third day Thursday evening.

[Providence hospital backs Anchorage mask mandate]

In the Wednesday memo, Aguilar wrote that with increasing COVID-19 cases in Anchorage and across the state, JBER personnel would be required to wear masks indoors at off-base facilities and outdoors when 6 feet of social distancing is not possible.

Aguilar also said personnel should avoid nonessential indoor activities that don’t have COVID-19 safety measures in place.

“Entry into establishments providing essential services without these controls is permitted, but individuals must wear a mask and socially distance as much as possible,” Aguilar wrote.

The new rules were issued a little over a week after base leadership declared a public health emergency.

Failure to comply with the rules could result in consequences including “adverse action” for military members as well as disciplinary action for civilian employees and suspension of base access.

Morgan Krakow

Morgan Krakow is a general assignment reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. She is a 2019 graduate of the University of Oregon and spent the summer of 2019 as a reporting intern on the general assignment desk of The Washington Post. Contact her at