The Pentagon on Friday morning released a memo from Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks informing Department of Defense (DOD) personnel that masks are no longer required indoors or outdoors on DOD facilities for those who are fully vaccinated, in accordance with new Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.
“Fully vaccinated DoD personnel (who are at least two weeks beyond their final dose) are no longer required to wear a mask indoors or outdoors at DoD facilities,” the memo from Hicks said.
The memo also said personnel who are not fully vaccinated should continue to follow applicable DOD mask guidance, including continuing to wear masks indoors.
The memo did not clarify how the policy will be enforced or if personnel are required to prove they are fully vaccinated.
However, it did specify that commanders and supervisors should not ask about an employee’s vaccination status or use information about an employee’s vaccination status to make decisions about how and when employees will report to a workplace instead of teleworking:
DOD no longer requiring those fully vaccinated to wear masks indoors or outdoors at DOD facilities.
Does not say if or how they will try to determine who is vaccinated and who’s not. pic.twitter.com/t6zXOAp98j
— Kristina Wong 🇺🇸 (@kristina_wong) May 14, 2021
The guidance comes after the CDC released guidance on Thursday that indicates those fully vaccinated “can resume activities without wearing a mask or staying [six] feet apart, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, [including] local business and workplace guidance”:
UPDATE: If you are fully vaccinated against #COVID19, you can resume activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, incl. local business and workplace guidance. More: https://t.co/FJMon7WlFO
— CDC (@CDCgov) May 13, 2021
The Biden Pentagon has encouraged troops and their families to get vaccinated but so far has not mandated the vaccine because it is still under Emergency Use Authorization, and the Pentagon cannot mandate it without a waiver from the president.