We recently received a letter in the CO’s Suggestion Box asking why military family members are currently not allowed to use the base fitness centers and gym. While I understand the frustration regarding this restriction, our top priority is to keep active duty military members from contracting and spreading the Corona virus which would impact mission readiness aboard the station.
All military members are still under the U.S. Fleet Forces fragmentary order (FRAGO) which restricts us from visiting any non-essential locations off the base, including fitness facilities. And, NAS Jacksonville is still in HPCON Charlie which sets specific guidelines of what base services can be offered and to whom they can be offered.
We decided to open the fitness centers to active duty and Reservists because we are required to maintain our physical fitness as part of Navy’s Physical Readiness Program. These facilities are limited on how many patrons can safely use the facility during operational hours based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations. MWR staff are required to adhere to strict sanitary measures so they have limited their hours throughout the day to close for cleaning the equipment/facility.
Unfortunately, until COVID numbers decrease significantly both on and off the station, and more people are able to be vaccinated against this virus, the FRAGO will not be lifted and base facilities will remain restricted for use. Throughout the last year and as we move toward normalcy, we work very closely with Naval Hospital Jacksonville’s Preventive Health Department, and state and county agencies to ensure we have the best information possible to make force health-related decisions.
I know how tough it is to live under all these restrictions but we remain committed to the health of the force, first and foremost. Please continue to adhere to all Navy, DOD, and CDC COVID mitigation efforts and we will labor to open our facilities to all authorized users as soon as conditions warrant.