Marines at Cherry Point Marine Air Station, where one service member has tested positive for COVID-19, have been taking numerous precautions as a result of the pandemic.
Here is a sampling:
Cunningham and Slocum Gates
Cunningham Gate will be closed until further notice as a result of the elevated health protection condition, currently HPCON-C. All motorists are asked to use the alternative gates, Main Gate or Slocum Gate, to enter and exit the installation. Drivers are advised to factor additional time into their commute in consideration of the change.
Also, morning commuters are advised that the forward Id checkpoint at Slocum Gate will be relocated to the guardhouse along Slocum Road. Drivers are advised to use caution upon approach to accessing the installation. There will still be two lanes for inbound traffic from 6-7:30 a.m. and military police/officers in each lane to perform require checks.
Drivers are advised to pay attention to signs in both areas assisting in facilitating the traffic pattern changes.
Adjust blocking settings to receive official healthcare calls
Navy Health Clinic Cherry Point is conducting 85 percent of its services via virtual or telephonic means to keep the public safe through the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the staff are teleworking and using personal phone numbers to contact patients.
Patrons/Clients/Patients may be missing calls from healthcare providers if one’s phone is set to block, automatically decline or reject calls from unknown numbers. Therefore, officials are advising patrons/clients/patients to adjust their phone’s blocking settings if expecting a call from a member of the clinic’s staff.
It is further advised to enroll in instant messaging as a fast, reliable and secure way to engage with members of one’s care team. The staff addresses the messages within minutes of receipt and relays the information to the appropriate care team personnel.
Child Care Resources and Financial Assistance for Essential Workers during COVID-19 Crisis
Effective April 1, 2020, essential workers are eligible to receive financial aid for child care through the Emergency Child Care Subsidy Program. Patrons who are designated as an essential worker (as defined in Executive Order 121), and are in need of emergency child care in relation to COVID-19 closures, have a number of resources available to ensure that their families are safe and taken care of. Financial assistance will be offered for the months of April and May.
- To receive information about local options for children from infants through age 12, please call 1-888-600-1685. Families will be connected with child care programs that agree to meet updated health, safety and operational guidelines.
- After calling 1-888-600-1685, contact the recommended child care program to receive the proper enrollment forms.
- If you are an essential worker who needs financial assistance for emergency child care, complete the “COVID-19 Parent Application for Financial Assistance for Emergency Child Care” form and submit it to your child care provider. A hard copy of this form can also be filled out and submitted to your child care facility.
Cherry Point Mess Hall
In an effort to better accommodate patrons while adhering to social distancing guidance to preserve force health, the hours at the Cherry Point Mess Hall will be temporarily extended by 30 minutes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Monday through Friday. The scheduled hours will remain unchanged during the weekend.
The current scheduled hours are as follows:
- Breakfast: 0600-0830
- Lunch: 1100-1330
- Dinner: 1600-1830
- Midrats: 2300-0100
Saturday and Sunday
- Breakfast: 0600-0800
- Lunch: 1100-1300
- Dinner: 1600-1800
- Midrats: 2300-0100
Public Works Note: Flush ONLY Toilet Paper
Public Works managers remind housing and barracks residents, and individuals working in or visiting facilities across the station, that ONLY toilet paper should be flushed down the toilet. Substitute hygiene items should be disposed of in a manner that is safe, hygienically sound and proper, to not compromise the air station’s plumbing and sewage systems.
Sentries and ID Checks
During Health Protection Conditions, you may notice sentries at the gate implementing new measures such as asking to see the barcode on your ID card rather than taking the card from individuals. This is one way that the MCAS Cherry Point Police Department is working to prevent the spread of disease amongst our community. The Cherry Point Police ask for your patience and understanding as they take these measures to ensure the health and well-being of all the community and guests on the installation.
Modified Chapel Hours and Services
The operating hours at the MCAS Cherry Point Chapel will be 0800-1300. A chaplain and staff member will be available at the Station Chapel for counseling and to answer any questions regarding services or scheduling.
Currently, all services and small groups will be cancelled until further notice and the Chapel will not be taking any reservations until further notice. Contact the MCAS Cherry Point Chapel at 252-466-4000 for more information.
At the direction of the Secretary of Defense, individuals on Department of Defense installations are now required to wear cloth face coverings when it is not possible to maintain six feet of social distance in public areas or work centers. Accordingly, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, which is included under Marine Corps Installations East (MCIEAST), will implement the use of cloth face coverings on the installation to the maximum extent possible and highly encourage the community’s participation in this effort. Much like the rest of the nation, supplies of masks are limited and we have to use what is available.
For those in uniform, face coverings should be conservative in appearance, not offensive, fit snugly but comfortable, must be from nose to chin, no full face coverings, be secured with ties or ear loops (neck gaiters are also approved), preferably multiple layers of fabric if material is cloth, and allow for breathing without restriction.
Finally, here is a letter from the commander of Cherry Point to the Marines and sailors stationed there:
Hello Cherry Point,
The North Carolina stay-at-home order is becoming real now. Each and every one of us is tired of being stuck at home or in the barracks. But what you are doing is having an effect on slowing the spread of COVID-19 here in Eastern NC. While the number of cases continue to increase, they have not done so at the rate originally predicted. Your determined efforts to practice social distancing and personal efforts to keep your hands clean are paying dividends. For that, I thank you.
As of 8 a.m. today, we have fully implemented the guidance from the secretary of defense to require a face covering when entering facilities where the CDC-recommended six feet of social distancing cannot be maintained. This includes our commissary, Marine Corps exchange, visitor center, post office, chow hall, Marine marts, barber shops, etc. I realize this new direction has taken some by surprise and may have resulted in patrons not being granted access to a specific store. For that, I apologize. It is my sincere hope that the word of this requirement spreads quickly so that everyone is prepared for the next visit.
The Marines, Sailors and Civilians for the air station and our tenants continue to do an outstanding job each day. Maintenance Marines are keeping aircraft flying and aircrew are training. Our Marine Air Control Group and Marine Wing Support Group Marines are training to their missions to be ready when the nation needs them. The artisans at Fleet Readiness Center East are hard at work performing depot-level maintenance on hundreds of aircraft to sustain aviation readiness across the fleet. I am especially proud of the Naval Health Clinic Sailors, Civilians and Contractors who are working tirelessly to keep us healthy and ready to perform. It is an amazing team effort all around.
Take time this weekend to relax. Enjoy some peace and quiet. Maybe work on a project you have been itching to get to but haven’t had the time. I recommend against large group gatherings. While the temptation may be there to barbecue and hang out, this is the time to keep the numbers down.
– Stay healthy. Stay positive. Stay strong Cherry Point. –