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As Washington goes ... so does JBLM?

JBLM's George to make announcements today at 4 pm

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As Washington State Governor Jay Inslee announced emergency COVID-19 restrictions Sunday, JBLM officials readied their response as well.

Lt. Gen. Randy George, commander I Corps and JBLM has stated numerous times since last spring that the base would mirror the bulk of restrictions imposed by the state. He will update the community today, November 16 at 4 p.m, according to the base's Facebook page.  Those announcements will be made live here (click).

George typically makes official announcements regarding base restrictions during his Facebook Live townhall meetings. Through the summer, those were held every Tuesday at 3 pm, however in recent months, he’s held roughly two each month. The next townhall was already scheduled for Tuesday, November 17 at 3 pm, bit that shifted to today Sunday evening.

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Inslee announced Sunday the following rules to take effect at 11:59 pm today (these are copied from the state's website):

If the activity is not listed, it should follow its current guidance. All K-12/higher education, health care, and childcare are exempt from the new restrictions and will follow current guidance. These restrictions do not apply to courts and judicial branch-related proceedings.
1. Indoor Social Gatherings with people from outside your household are prohibited unless they (a) quarantine for fourteen days (14) prior to the social gathering; or (b) quarantine for seven (7) days prior to the social gathering and receive a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 48-hours prior to the gathering. A household is defined as individuals residing in the same domicile.
2. Outdoor Social Gatherings shall be limited to five (5) people from outside your household.
3. Restaurants and Bars are closed for indoor dine-in service. Outdoor dining and to-go service are permitted, provided that all outdoor dining must comply with the requirements of the Outdoor Dining Guidance. Table size for outdoor dining is limited to a maximum of five (5) people. These modified restaurant and bar restrictions go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, November 18, 2020.
4. Fitness Facilities and Gyms are closed for indoor operations. Outdoor fitness classes are permitted but are subject to and limited by the outdoor social gathering restriction listed above.
5. Bowling Centers are closed for indoor service.
6. Miscellaneous Venues: All retail activities and business meetings are prohibited. Only professional training and testing that cannot be performed remotely, as well as all court and judicial branch-related proceedings, are allowed. Occupancy in each meeting room is limited to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits or 100 people, whichever is fewer.
Miscellaneous venues include: convention/conference centers, designated meeting spaces in a hotel, events centers, fairgrounds, sporting arenas, nonprofit establishment, or a substantially similar venue.
7. Movie Theaters are closed for indoor service. Drive-in movie theaters are permitted and must continue to follow current drive-in movie theater guidance.

8. Museums/Zoos/Aquariums are closed for indoor service.
9. Real Estate: Open houses are prohibited.
10. Wedding and Funerals: Ceremonies are limited to a total of no more than 30 people. Indoor receptions, wakes, or similar gatherings in conjunction with such ceremonies are prohibited.
11. In-Store Retail shall be limited to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits, and common/congregate seating areas and indoor dining facilities such as food courts are closed.
12. Religious Services are limited to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits, or no more than 200 people, whichever is fewer. Congregation members/attendees must wear facial coverings at all times and congregation singing is prohibited. No choir, band, or ensemble shall perform during the service. Vocal or instrumental soloists are permitted to perform, and vocal soloists may have a single accompanist. Outdoor services must follow the Outdoor Dining Guidance, found here, applicable to the structure or facility.
13. Professional Services are required to mandate that employees work from home when possible and close offices to the public if possible. Any office that must remain open must limit occupancy to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits.
14. Personal Services are limited to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits.
? Personal service providers include: cosmetologists, cosmetology testing, hairstylists, barbers, estheticians, master estheticians, manicurists, nail salon workers, electrologists, permanent makeup artists, tanning salons, and tattoo artists.
15. Long-term Care Facilities: Outdoor visits are permitted. Indoor visits are prohibited, but individual exceptions for an essential support person or end-of-life care are permitted. These restrictions are also extended to the facilities in Proclamation 20-74, et seq. All other provisions of Proclamations 20-66, et seq., and 20-74, et seq., including all preliminary criteria to allow any visitors, remain in effect.
16. Youth and Adult Sporting Activities: Indoor activities and all contests and games are prohibited. Outdoor activities shall be limited to intra-team practices only, with facial coverings required for all coaches, volunteers and athletes at all times.

On Thursday, the base released specific plans for Thanksgiving on base, but how those might change in light of Inslee’s announcement is unclear.

As of Thursday, the base planned that dining facilities would continue to operate at 50% capacity and ensure social distancing is being practiced in lines, at meal stations and at dining tables. For diners that would rather not dine in, the warrior restaurants are also offering take out options.

“We will be limiting dine-in capacity to ensure proper social distancing, in accordance with state guidelines,” Barker said. “I’d recommend nonservice members (civilians) to come by during the later lunch hours to avoid the initial lunch crowd.”

Lancer Bistro, Ghost Inn and Courage Inn will serve their Thanksgiving meal from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 25. The 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) warrior restaurant will serve its meal from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 25. The McChord Field warrior restaurant will serve its meal from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 26.

George may reverse this plan and close dining facilities to indoor dining.

The JBLM Morale, Welfare and Recreation office is offering convenient take out options to facilitate your Thanksgiving plans.

“This year we are offering two Thanksgiving meal options in two different sizes,” said Dorte West, MWR business manager. “Customers can purchase entire meals cooked and ready-to-eat or a take-and-bake option, with everything prepared and ready for the oven.”

The first meal option feeds six to eight people with a choice of roasted turkey or glazed ham, homestyle cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes with turkey gravy, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, homemade cranberry sauce with pickled peaches and a homemade pumpkin pie.

The second meal option feeds eight to 12 and includes a roasted turkey and a glazed ham, all the sides and desserts from the first meal option and a home-baked apple pie.

“We are accepting orders through Nov. 23,” West said. “If customers have any questions about orders, pricing or pickup, they can feel free to give us a call!”

West and her catering team can be contacted at 253-966-4998 or 253-966-3987 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. Orders will be ready for pickup between noon and 6 p.m. Nov. 25 and between 9 a.m. to noon Nov. 26.

The Defense Department on Friday reinstated travel restrictions at seven bases for personnel as a result of the coronavirus pandemic in their local areas, according to a Pentagon document released Thursday. The bases are Grand Forks Air Force Base and Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas, Naval Support Activity Mid-South in Tennessee, and Naval Air Station Sigonella and Naval Support Activity in Italy.

As of November 9, 147 of 231 installations, or about 64%, have lifted travel restrictions, meaning they have met specific criteria including the base’s health protection condition level being above “Charlie” and essential services are available, according to the Pentagon.

The Pentagon is expected to reinstate more travel restrictions this coming week.

On Friday, Inlsee joined the governors of Oregon and California asking people to limit their travel, and to voluntarily self-quarantine for 14 days if crossing state borders.

The state set a record for newly confirmed coronavirus cases on Saturday, with 1,777 additional cases announced. As of this week, more than 123,000 cases have been confirmed statewide and there have been 2,507 reported deaths.

“We are in as dangerous a position today as we were in March,” Inslee said during a brief statewide televised address. “We cannot wait until our hospitals’ halls are lined with gurneys waiting for rooms before we take decisive action.”

All of the state’s 39 counties are paused in either the second or third phase of a four-stage reopening plan that began in early May to start lifting restrictions on businesses and other activities. The staggered reopening was mean to restart the economy after the state saw massive layoffs and reduction of hours across multiple industries during the state’s stay-at-home order.

While the number of applications for unemployment insurance fell last week in 29 states, new numbers released Thursday show the figure jumped the highest in Washington, with 25,201 new claims representing a nearly 72% increase from the previous week. The latest unemployment rate numbers, from September, show the rate at 7.8%. New numbers for October will be released next week.

Newly confirmed infections in the U.S. are running at all-time highs of well over 120,000 per day, with cases rising in 49 states, and deaths increasing in 39. The nation has now recorded more than 242,000 virus-related deaths and over 10.5 million confirmed infections.

For most, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks, although long-term effects are unknown. But for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

Inslee said that he was optimistic that holidays in 2021 would return to normal, with the arrival of more therapeutics to treat COVID-19, as well as promising news about a vaccine.

“This is a temporary situation. We will get back to normal,” Inslee said. “The cavalry is on the way, but we need to keep people alive until it gets here.”

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