Marine Forces Japan announced Friday it was restricting off-base liberty as COVID-19 continues to disrupt U.S. military operations and planning across the globe.
Marines, dependents, personnel and contractors are prohibited from visiting off-base bars, nightclubs, cafes, clothing stores, nail salons and gyms, according to a news release.
Personnel can visit off-base restaurants for take-out, carry-out, or drivethrough services, or they can go to establishments that “support vital household functions” such as grocery stores, banks, medical appointments, among others, a release detailed.
Marines and personnel can still partake in outdoor activities to include running, hiking, swimming, if they adhere to social distancing guidelines, the release said.
“These changes are motivated by the continued spread of COVID-19 cases throughout the region and the region-wide increase to HPCON C [Health Protection Condition Charlie]. These measures are preventive to ensure the protection of the force, our families, and our community," the release reads.
According to the World Health Organization, Japan has 1291 COVID-19 cases.
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.
“The intent of these additional measures is to reduce the potential for the spread of COVID-19 among our personnel and our Japanese neighbors by further limiting movements and minimizing personal interactions,” the news release reads.
“MARFOR-J will continue mission essential training and activities, while implementing social distancing practices and leveraging telework and other means to limit the potential for exposure,” the release reads.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.