Employees, patrons required to wear face covers at JBSA commissaries, exchanges

New guidance starts April 10

Surgeon General shows how to make face masks
Surgeon General shows how to make face masks

SAN ANTONIO – Commissaries and Army and Air Forces exchange service facilities on Joint Base San Antonio will require all store employees and customers to wear some form of face covering in order to enter the stores beginning April 10, officials said.

On April 5, the Department of Defense guidance and JBSA issued guidance that require face coverings for all DoD personnel when they cannot maintain six feet of distance.

Army Lt. Col. Angela Parham, DeCA’s director of health and safety, emphasized that personal protective equipment is only one part of the preventive measures required to help combat COVID-19.

“DOD’s face-covering mandate aligns with CDC guidance to help prevent asymptomatic people, who may not know they’re infected, from spreading the virus to healthy folks,” Parham said in a news release. “Even when you wear a mask or other face covering, it is still important to practice good hand hygiene, social distancing, and refrain from touching your face.”

In addition to requiring face coverings for employees and customers, commissaries have implemented the following operational policies to help make stores safer during this pandemic:

  • Commissaries are installing clear, acrylic sneeze shields in all regular checkout lanes to add extra protection for customers and cashiers.
  • Commissary personnel are wiping down checkout areas, product display cases, restrooms and shopping carts with disinfectant, and practicing routine hand washing and other basic sanitation measures to reduce transmission risk.
  • Hand sanitizer is provided at each register and staff are encouraged to use it at the end of each patron transaction.
  • DeCA encourages its employees to closely monitor their health, and asks them to stay home if they, or someone in their household, are sick.
  • Stores are working with their installations to implement procedures regarding social distancing.
  • A “no visitors” policy was instituted to reduce the number of people in the stores.
  • Early bird hours were suspended to allow stores more time to clean and restock the store
  • Patrons cannot bring reusable bags into the commissary to help reduce the risk of virus.
  • Cashiers no longer handle patron ID cards. Instead, customers will be asked to scan their own ID or cashiers can use the handheld scanner if available.
  • DeCA encourages the use of credit or debit transactions to limit the use of cash and coins
  • Local commissaries work closely with the public health assets on the installation to monitor transmission risk related to staff and patrons.
  • Commissaries have temporarily suspended the requirement to sign credit card receipts to prevent multi patron handling of the credit card reader pen.

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.


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