NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Commissaries across the county are requiring some form of face covering for store employees and customers to enter a commissary, including Joint Base Charleston.
According to a news release Friday, the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) guidance is effective April 10 and applies to all agency stores and other facilities where no local directive has yet been issued.
“If an installation commander has already issued a directive to require face coverings in DeCA commissaries, this order shall not supersede their policy, and all patrons and employees shall adhere to current rules,” said Rear Adm. (Ret.) Robert J. Bianchi, DOD special assistant for commissary operations. “Many bases have already imposed this requirement, but at locations where there is no guidance, this is protection of our employees and our customers.”
The commissary agency is purchasing high-quality surgical-type masks and gloves through the commercial supply system that will be made available to employees.
As supplies of masks and gloves make their way to commissaries, store employees are wearing their own masks or some form of material such as scarfs, bandannas, clean t-shirts or cloths to cover the nose and mouth.
“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,” said Army Lt. Col. Angela Parham, DeCA’s director of health and safety. “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.”
Commissaries have also installed clear, acrylic sneeze shields in all regular checkout lanes to add extra protection for customers and cashiers.
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.
They are also providing hand sanitizer at each register.