NORFOLK, Va. – After the rise in coronavirus cases in the area, Navy installations in Hampton Roads are being ordered to move to Health Protection Condition Level (HPCON) Charlie starting Wednesday.
The order, issued Tuesday by Rear Adm. Charles W. Rock, Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, comes after an increase in both the number of COVID-19 cases and the positivity rate among the local military and civilian populations.
Local installations had been in HPCON Bravo, a less restrictive level, since September 23, according to Navy officials.
The return to HPCON Charlie means military personnel in Hampton Roads must limit travel to and from their homes to their place of work, with stops only for essential services such as food, medicine and child care. Dining in at restaurants is prohibited, but take-out is allowed.
Military personnel are prohibited from using off-base services such as gyms and barbershops, but they are allowed to use those facilities on base.
Participation in team sports, going to amusement parks and attendance at parades or other public celebrations is also prohibited. Social gatherings in Sailors’ homes may not include more than 10 guests who don’t live there.
“The health and safety of our Navy family is our number one priority,” Rock said. “We’ve been fighting this virus for a long time, but we’ve still got some more work to do and can’t give in to fatigue. As we enter the holiday season, it’s more important than ever that we look out for each other and ensure our Sailors’ mental health and resiliency remains strong. Check in with one another often and take time to recharge.”
Travel restrictions associated with HPCON Charlie do not apply to personal leave and liberty travel outside of the local area for Navy service members, who must first receive approval from their commanding officers in accordance with Navy regulations. Sailors with specific questions about leave should contact their chain of command.
Several businesses near Naval Air Station Oceana told News 3 they serve a lot of military customers, and they feel the difference when orders like this are given.
Jay Gates owns Thin Brew Line, a first responder themed brewery near Oceana.
“I didn’t realize exactly how much business we got from military until it was non-existent,” explained Gates when describing the past Summer.
“Some of them are regulars, and I’ve had their wives come in with growlers to get them filled,” added Gates.
Thin Brew Line is around the corner from Clayton’s Counter Delicatessen which just opened its doors in August. The owner of the deli, Ralph Anderson, says they have a dine-in option but focus on carry-out and catering.
“Now that we hear the military has those restrictions, we might look into doing a curbside pick-up where we bring it to the vehicle. Whatever it takes to get food to people and it be safe” said Anderson.
Take-out is authorized under HPCON Charlie.