The Pentagon has issued guidance on personnel wearing face coverings, after U.S. health officials recommended the step for Americans.
“Effective immediately, to the extent practical, all individuals on DoD property, installations, and facilities will wear cloth face coverings when they cannot maintain six feet of social distance in public areas or work centers,” the policy says.
“We want to take every measure to protect our troops,” U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on ABC’s “This Week” broadcast.
Brett Crozier, the Navy captain who was removed from command of the coronavirus-infected aircraft carrier U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, has tested positive for Covid-19, according to the New York Times, which cites two of his Naval Academy classmates.
Esper said it’s not always possible for troops to exercise social distancing by staying 6 feet apart, especially on submarines. The Defense Department has to take other measures, and Esper said he trusts commanders and officers to do that.
Officials with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are recommending the use of non-surgical-grade cloth masks as a voluntary measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. President Donald Trump said he did not plan to wear one himself.
“It’s only a recommendation,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday. “You don’t have to do it.”
Officials in hard-hit areas such as New York last week told residents they should cover their faces when they’re outside, while also continuing to severe limiting time outside and practicing social distancing when they do.