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Defense

Pentagon gives capital-area workers permission slips

The Defense Department issued memos and permission letters March 31 for personnel working in the Washington region amid local governments' stay-at-home orders.

State and local orders "do not preclude DOD civilian employees and military members from traveling to or from where they perform their official duties," Paul Ney, Jr., DOD's general counsel, wrote in a March 31 memo. Additionally, they are able to travel from their residences and through the District of Columbia, if required, to their duty stations.

The memos come as DOD grapples with keeping personnel safe by encouraging social distancing techniques and telework, but having to continue facility access, namely for classified workers.

DOD provided a letter for DOD personnel and service members to present, along with their common access cards, to identify themselves to local or state law enforcement and officials if stopped or questioned while traveling for official DOD business.

Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia have all ordered residents to stay home, departing only for essential activities, such as grocery shopping, going to work at an essential business, and outdoor exercise alone or with household members.

DOD imposed stop movement orders overseas March 25 and previously issued travel restrictions internationally and for the U.S. earlier in the month. Personnel have been under maximum telework orders since March 9.

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