WPAFB requires commissary, exchange patrons to wear masks

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is instructing customers of its on-base commissary and exchange to start wearing face masks.

Customers will need to wear the masks beginning Saturday.

"To better serve our customers and help prevent the spread of #COVID-19, beginning Saturday, April 11, the commissary and exchange will require that all patrons wear a face mask to enter those facilities," the base said in a post on the "Wright Patterson AFB" Facebook page. "Thank you for your cooperation in protecting our #WPAFB family!"

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has advised people to use face masks, and many states and locales are following suit.

The CDC says on its website that it is "critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus."


The “CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.”

“To provide more protection for both our customers and patrons we have made this decision,” Col. Thomas Sherman, 88th Air Base Wing commander, said in a statement Thursday. “This is just one of the preventative measures we have put in place in our battle against this virus.”

“In this extraordinary time, we need to do everything we can to protect our force and our families,” Sherman added. “I ask for everyone’s support as we continue to perform our vital Air Force missions during this unprecedented challenge.”

Social media reaction to the base’s Faceook post ran the gamut.

“Many of us don’t have access to masks; they should be provided at the door if they’re going to require them,” Facebook user Kevin Voss wrote.

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“What’s next?” asked Liam Lobl. “HAZMAT suits or chem warfare gear?!”

“Thank u for keeping us safe,” wrote Deborah Sutton Bockrath.

Medical-grade face masks remain scarce and when found are usually reserved for front-line healthcare workers.

But even homemade face covers offer some protection, the CDC has said.

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