TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – MacDill Air Force Base is returning to its COVID-19 restrictions.
The base is now on Health Protection Condition Bravo. This means that anyone coming onto the base will be required to wear a mask.
“The biggest policy right now coming down from our higher headquarters, the Secretary of Defense, is mask-wearing. Mask-wearing regardless of your vaccination status. The second policy we’ve implemented here locally is limiting our gatherings to 25 personnel so we can maintain better physical distancing,” said Colonel Cory Damon, the vice commander of the 6th Air Refueling Wing.
Damon says the restrictions are needed because of the surging number of coronavirus cases in the community.
“We are trying to be a little bit more proactive in being able to protect our force. The mission is paramount for us and we want a healthy force so we can continue to answer the nation’s call,” said Damon.
Many base facilities remain open. The base’s Exchange where active-duty personnel and retired members of the military come to shop is open. The base’s Child Development Center, bowling alley, skeet range, and golf facilities are also open.
Some popular eating places on base, like the SeaScapes restaurant, are now closed because of the pandemic.
Many retired members of the military going to the base are not concerned about the changes.
“You need to protect the other people,” said Forlan Morales.
Alex Moore says he will wear his mask everywhere on base.
“I’ve had the Pfizer shot and I still wear my mask, outside or inside, because I’m old and I ain’t taking no chances,” Moore said.
Colonel Damon says he wants everyone who comes on the base to be safe and keep in mind the new guidelines apply to all.
“Just like all of our personnel, you have to mask up. We need you to wear masks so we can continue to operate,” he said.