Fitness centers are shuttered across a number of military installations around the U.S. over COVID-19 concerns, but the Marine Barracks Washington D.C. is still keeping the doors open to its gym, a Marine official told Marine Corps Times.
The Marine barracks gym remains open despite an order from Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser to close gyms across the city to help stymie the spread of the virus. The governors of Maryland and Virginia have also ordered the closure of gyms across the two states.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there are 1,645 cases of COVID-14 across the D.C., Virginia and Maryland area. There are 267 COVID-19 cases reported in D.C. alone.
Only individuals actually assigned to the historic D.C. Marine barracks are authorized to use the gym or facilities. The D.C. barracks is home to the Marine commandant and the storied Silent Drill Platoon. Roughly a battalion-sized element is assigned to the base.
“Marine Barracks Washington and its facilities are only open to those assigned to Marine Barracks Washington and its residents. The Barracks is in compliance with HPCON C [ Health Protection Condition Charlie] guidance,” Capt. Kathleen Kochert, a Marine spokeswoman, told Marine Corps Times in an emailed statement.
HPCON-Charlie means there is substantial and sustained community transmission of a virus or disease. Under those conditions personnel can expect cancellations of in-person gatherings, restricted travel, among others, according to the Army Public Health Center.
All gyms across the Quantico, Virginia, Marine base are also closed, according to Capt. Allison Burgos, a Marine spokeswoman.
Gen. David Berger, the commandant of the Marine Corps, has given local commanders the authority make changes related to COVID-19.
He told reporters Thursday at the Pentagon that he was “confident” commanders were making the right decisions to maintain readiness while implementing measures to slow the spread of the virus.
The Marine Barracks Washington D.C. has postponed the start of evening parade season until May 15 over COVID-19. The evening parade season was slated to start May 1.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.