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Base openings expand as cases near zero

JBLM updates

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Following on the heels of towns and cities across the United States, military troops, families and retirees in the South Sound will gain even more access to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, said Lt. Gen. Randy George, commander of I Corps and JBLM told a town hall audience via Facebook, Tuesday.

"We've had only one new case over the past week," George said. "We are going to relax some more measures."

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George said the following will open or change. 

• Friday, installation campgrounds will open including overnight stays on post. Contact The Northwest Adventure Center for reservations. Every other camping spot will be available.

• Aquatics at base beaches will open May 31; however, there will not be lifeguards on duty. Bathrooms will be opened; however, access to shower facilities have not been determined.

• June 1, Okubo Dental will open for annual checkups for active-duty but won't include cleanings.

• Beauty shops on base are expected to open June 1, and barber shops for non-active-duty troops are not ready to open.

• There is no change to travel rules. Fifty miles is still the limit unless visiting state or federal parks/forests, but no overnight stays are allowed. When Pierce County moves to Phase Two, George said he'll likely open travel up to a radius of 250 miles with overnight stays.

• Routine appointments are available at Madigan; however, patients are asked to begin with a virtual appointment. Child vaccines are available and should be performed on time. A well child exam will be done at the same time.

• Child care facilities on base are all in use with 60 percent capacity. All active-duty wounded warriors, single soldiers, and dual military couples are receiving priority.  You will be contacted when there is space for your family.

• Commanders may now increase mission-essential duty to 70 percent strength.

• The MPs are being pulled from the front of the Commissary starting June 1. 

• Gyms will open in Phase Three of Washington state's rules, but George said he'll likely open them to active-duty in Phase Two.

• The visitor policy at Madigan is still the same.

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• George said there is not an official decision on summer block leave. He said he wouldn't book an airline ticket just in case. Units headed to Pathways will receive block leave July 1-15 provided the stop-move order is lifted.

• The new Children's Museum opening on base has been delayed. It was supposed to open in the fall. A new date has not been determined.

• Freedom Fair is still in the planning stages for the fourth weekend in August.

• Discussing summer PCS moves, George said he couldn't commit to the current lift date of June 30. National news stories have suggested the DoD has not officially greenlighted the June 30 lift date.

• There are no antibody tests being done by Madigan for the general military community.

• The Go Lewis-McChord will start back up in Phase Three. It will return as a government program with a new name to follow shortly.

• There has not been a determination for kids summer camps or vacation Bible schools. The base hopes to do them in small groups. The overall capability "will be drastically reduced," said Col. Skye Duncan, garrison commander.

• The JBLM Museum must complete an inventory for a national project, but once done, will likely re-open in three weeks, Duncan said.

• There are bears on post, Duncan said. There is a trap to capture it and move it to the Mount Rainier park.

• The Texas Roadhouse should open Aug. 1.

• There is still not a bulk recycling resumption date. If PCSing, call Lincoln Housing for an alternative.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said bases should generally stay aligned with their states.

Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee announced this past weekend that Cowlitz, Grant, Island, Jefferson, Mason, Pacific and San Juan counties may move into Phase Two of his Safe Start plan.

Twenty-one counties are now approved to move to Phase Two: Adams, Asotin, Columbia, Cowlitz, Ferry, Garfield, Grant, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson, Lewis, Lincoln, Mason, Pacific, Pend Orielle, San Juan, Skamania, Spokane, Stevens, Wahkiakum and Whitman.In addition, Clallam, Kitsap and Thurston counties can now apply for Phase Two variances. For an updated list on Washinngton state’s re-openings, see

Several other services opened last week and into the start of this week including curbside pickup at the base library, outdoor religious services and prayer meetings for crowds under 50 people in unit areas conducted by unit chaplains, The Northwest Adventure Center, and the Arts and Crafts centers.

To see what has already been opened on JBLM, click HERE.

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