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Prince George
County, VA

Fort Lee lifts some pandemic protocols, but commander warns it's not business as usual

Bill Atkinson, The Progress-Index

FORT LEE — The post has relaxed some of the restrictions related to COVID-19, including doubling the allowable capacity for gatherings and reopening some child and youth services, but the post commander added that the easing does not mean it is back to business as usual.

Maj. Gen. Rodney D. Fogg approved a step-down in Fort Lee's Health Protection Condition from "Charlie" to "Bravo" effective this week, citing a flattening of the curve in the COVID rate and the return to school for military children living on the Prince George County installation.  "We are confident we can offer an increase in services to mission essential personnel and still keep our people safe and remain within safety guidelines," Fogg said in a statement released by Fort Lee Public Affairs.

However, the move should not be construed as Fort Lee returning to the way things were before COVID-19 invaded Virginia last March,

"This does not constitute a return to normal operations for Fort Lee," the general said. "Many COVID precautions will remain in place, and soldiers and civilians must stay vigilant to prevent a return to HPCON Charlie on Fort Lee."

Essential employees will continue to report to work in person, and non-essential personnel still are encouraged to work from home. Fogg said decisions about who comes into the office and who teleworks will be made by the various department supervisors.

Social distancing will still be observed, and face coverings will be required in all indoor areas.

HPCONs are protocols the Defense Department uses for public-health emergencies. They are based on risk levels in the surrounding communities and are scaled from "0" (routine) to "Delta" (severe).

Since the pandemic's onset, Fort Lee has operated at the Charlie HPCON, which covers substantial risk for widespread community transmission.

The maximum capacity for gatherings has been increased from 50 to 100 with social distancing in place. Fort Lee's three child development centers and the post Youth Center are open for children of mission-essential employees.

Fitness centers have reopened with limited hours and in some cases, limited capacities. Fort Lee's bowling center and golf course also are open under limited hours.

Open hours were added to the A Avenue gate to include weekends and the Shop Road gate to include more weekday hours.

Some of the Charlie HPCON restrictions remain in place under Bravo. Army graduations still are not open to off-post family and guests, and leaves outside of the continental U.S. are not permitted.

For complete information about restrictions, click here.

You can reach Bill Atkinson at Follow him at @BAtkinson_PI. Follow The Progress-Index on Twitter at @ProgressIndex.