JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas —
Commissaries and Army and Air Force Exchange Service facilities on Joint Base San Antonio now require all store employees and customers to wear some form of face covering in order to enter the store as of April 10.
The Defense Commissary Agency, or DeCA, guidance, issued April 9, applies to all commissaries, said retired Rear Adm. Robert J Bianchi, Department of Defense special assistant for commissary operations.
This guidance falls in line with the April 5 Department of Defense guidance, and JBSA Guidance Memorandum #23, which 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 PPE 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. “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.
More information on the JBSA coronavirus response is available at http://www.jbsa.mil/coronavirus.