ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Personnel stationed at a military base in Alaska’s largest city were ordered to avoid bars and interior dining at restaurants amid rising coronavirus cases on and off the base.

Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson placed the restrictions on airmen and soldiers in Anchorage, The Anchorage Daily News reported Saturday.

Members of the 673rd Air Base Wing are not allowed to visit businesses that “primarily engage in preparing and serving alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption,” an Oct. 8 memo from base Commander Col. Kirsten Aguilar said.

The order keeps active-duty airmen assigned to the 673rd Wing from visiting bars, breweries, pubs and nightclubs.

The restrictions were enacted as a “precaution” because of increasing COVID-19 cases statewide, Media Operations Section Chief Erin Eaton said.

“The decision was made based on data and inputs from the medical team through their contact tracing efforts, and through base leadership’s evaluation of risk,” Eaton said in an email.


The regulation may be reviewed within 30 days.

Aguilar said in a video posted on social media Friday that the base has moved into HPCON Charlie, a military health protection level requiring additional limitations on certain base services and potentially more telecommuting.

“Over the last seven to 10 days we’ve seen significant increases on base, mirroring what we’re seeing in Anchorage and across Alaska,” Aguilar said in the video.

More people may be asked to work remotely because of virus transmission among people in workplace settings, Aguilar said.

The base’s Government Hill gate was closed temporarily beginning Saturday.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.