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Michigan one of 3 states US military is restricting travel to due to coronavirus

Air Force Reserve Citizen Airmen load up at MacDill Air Force Base, April 15, 2020 in Tampa. (Luis Santana/Times/TNS)

Michigan is one of three states in which U.S. servicemen and women are barred from traveling to and from at this time due to increases in COVID-19 cases and/or positive tests.

The Midwest state joins California and Florida as the only other states that haven’t been given green status for personnel travel, according to a June 29 memo from the U.S. Department of Defense.

In order for a state to be cleared of DoD travel restrictions, it must remove its shelter-in-place orders or other travel restrictions, report a 14-day downward trajectory of flu-like and COVID-19-like symptoms, and report a 14-day downward trajectory of new COVID-19 cases or positive tests.

A spokesperson for the department said the three states not included on the list had not met the three-part criteria, as of Monday. The list is updated weekly.

But according to data from Johns Hopkins, several states have recently reported larger increases in new cases per 100,000 people per day than Michigan, including Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, South Carolina and Texas. Those states are considered green locations, meaning service personnel can travel freely there.

Michigan has seen a recent uptick in the number of new cases per day, with the seven-day moving average reaching 320 this week — two weeks after the state was seeing 155 new cases per day. Since the start of the pandemic, Michigan has reported 63,870 known cases of COVID-19 and 5,947 deaths linked to the infectious respiratory illness.

The Department of Defense’s conditions-based phased travel restrictions apply to all service members, civilian personnel, and their dependents whose travel is government-funded. Travel is allowed to the other 47 U.S. states, as well as Washington D.C. and host nations Bahrain, Belgium, Germany, Guam, Japan, Puerto Rico, South Korea and United Kingdom.

Travel included in the restrictions includes temporary duty travel, government-funded leave travel, permanent duty travel including permanent change of station travel, and travel related to authorized and ordered departures issued by the Department of State.

It also includes personal leave outside the local area and non-official travel outside the local area. Department components may continue to onboard civilian employees within the local commuting area and civilian employees whose travel to the local commuting area is not government-funded.

Waivers for the travel restrictions can be granted if travel is determined to be mission-essential, necessary for humanitarian reasons, or warranted due to extreme hardship.

There are also various exemptions, including for travel associated with uniformed personnel recruiting, for medical treatment, for deployments, and for pending retirement or separation.


© 2020