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Despite the recent designation of Arizona as a "green location" by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, travel restrictions will remain in place for Fort Huachuca as local coronavirus cases continue to increase.

FORT HUACHUCA — Travel restrictions remain in place at Fort Huachuca despite the Department of the Defense’s recent designation of Arizona as a state that meets conditions for lifting the bans by military installations.

The designation of Arizona as a “green location” was given to the state on Monday by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. At least 38 other states and five host nations were given the same go-ahead. But there is a caveat.

“As of today, the following locations meet the conditions to lift travel restrictions, subject to the assessment of conditions at individual military installations within these areas,” a June 8 memo issued by the U.S. Department of Defense states.

At Fort Huachuca, the current travel restrictions aren’t going anywhere yet.

Active military, their families and civilians who work on Fort Huachuca are following General Order No. 1, issued several weeks ago by fort senior commander Maj. Gen. Laura Potter, as the cases of COVID-19 began creeping up in Cochise County and around the state.

The order, among other things, restricts active military, their families and civilians who work on post from traveling farther than 60 miles from the installation. The order also prohibits anyone who lives outside the 60-mile area from visiting the installation or residences of personnel, whether on or off post.

At Fort Huachuca’s 13th Facebook Live COVID-19 Town Hall Tuesday night, Potter said, “I am not comfortable right now with moving to Phase Two.”

“I don’t take this decision lightly,” Potter continued. “My number one criteria is your health and welfare.”

Among the criteria that each military installation must look at are: a 14-day downward trajectory of flu-like and COVID-19-like symptoms and a 14-day downward trajectory of new COVID-19 cases or positive tests.

Those are considered Phase 1 stipulations. The Phase 2 requirements are lengthier and include removal of local travel restrictions, availability of essential services (e.g., schools, childcare, moving services) and favorable health protection conditions, among others.

“The numbers are really in flux,” Potter said about the number of new cases reported daily.

Potter often has mentioned the fact that she, like everyone else, cannot travel to see her relatives and they can’t visit her and her family on post.

The major general also recommended the use of face masks in areas where social distancing is challenging. She said wearing the masks still is required at the commissary and post exchange on Fort Huachuca, and the requirement is “indefinite.”

The 14th Facebook Live COVID-19 Town Hall is scheduled for June 16, 6 p.m., at https://www.facebook.com/u.s.armyforthuachuca.

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