JBLM will open more services, airmen more range to travel

No final word on PCS moves from base yet

By Claire Nunn on June 9, 2020

JBLM will relax a few more Covid mitigation measures starting next week, however despite information released Monday from the DoD greenlighting Washington State for travel, there is no final confirmation that PCS season will start here July 1, said Lt. Gen. Randy George, commander of I Corps and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Tuesday, during his weekly Facebook townhall meeting.

The Pentagon lifted travel restrictions in a majority of states for service members to execute duty station moves as well as for military and recreational travel, however, officials said each base commander will need to examine their own situations.

George said guidance should be released by Thursday afternoon or Friday here.

PCS moves were to start after June 30.

McChord's commander has opened the entire state for travel including overnights for local airmen, but asks folks to avoid urban areas.  Soldiers can travel in a 250 mile radius with overnights but asked to avoid Seattle, Yakima and Portland per last week's announcement.  George said anything further than 250 miles needs chain of command approvals.

Retriction of movement will be required for troops and families moving here from some overseas locations.

Leave will be granted with an exception to policy.  That should change along with the PCS and travel guidance to be released soon.

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Other announcements on Tuesday included:

• There are no plans to reopen the D Street Gate as it was, however the base is considering opening the gate in the afternoons for out-traffic only.

• Only a handful of cases remain on JBLM.  There have been no spikes in cases.

• Childcare is still restricted with only half of the slots currently available.  Calls are being made when available. According to a follow up release, "By July 1, all 1C families who previously used JBLM CYS should be offered a space. CYS anticipates increasing capacity to 948 kids around July 1. This represents CYS' capacity while operating under COVID-19 social-distancing and mitigation strategies. As of today, there are still 1C families who used care prior to March 16 who have not received an offer for care. You have 48 hours to accept your space ... families who were not in care prior to March 16 but received care due to being designated as mission essential will be displaced in order to return families to care who had previously used JBLM CYS and have a higher priority."

• The summer youth sports schedule has been cancelled due to COVID-19. CYS is planning for fall sports, but in a follow on release "will offer some opportunities for children and youth starting in July that will adhere to social distancing requirements."

• Visitors are allowed to the barracks but must follow Washington State's Phase Two, meaning groups can't be larger than five people.

• Manning on base goes to 85% manning from the current 75% next Tuesday.

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• Adventures Unlimited On McChord opens June 16th.

• Garage sales are allowed on base for individual homes with small groups - no neighborhood wide garage sales until Phase Three.

To see last week's openings and news, click HERE and HERE

• Both Thrift Shops will open June 16th, but are already open for donations.

• The Housing Services office opens June 22nd.

• All outdoor playgrounds are now open.

• Russell Landing for jet skiing rentals likely to open next Tuesday.

• Nail salons at the PX will "likely" open Thursday.

• National Guard and Reserve on post may use the gyms.  Family members and retirees will have gym access likely in Phase Three.

• Gyms will be closed to all on weekends.

• Veternarian services are open for curbside appointments.

• Husbands or support are still not allowed to attend medical appointments such as OBGYN.

• The base is looking at options to have Clothing and Sales and the Adventure Center open on Sundays.

• Local school districts in general hope to open in part in the fall.  Updates will be provided this summer.

• The JBLM transit system will resume in October as a military funded program.

For a complete update on base openings and closings, go HERE

George also took time to reference racial injustice in the United States. "Our diverse backgrounds ... make our units stronger," George said. "Our diveristy is without a doubt one of our Army's greatest strengths."

He said when soldiers see bigotry in their formations they must speak up.

All units will participate in a stand down Thursday to hold dialogue on the subject.

Finally, officials said they are tracking roughly four bears on base, and it is recommended people stay away from them.  Traps have been placed around the area.