We wondered how COVID would affect Holiday Block Leave for the service branches so we did some checking. It appears that no standard set of COVID procedures exists beyond CDC guidelines. Thus, individual commands and bases will have some flexibility depending on their local circumstances. Servicemembers will be tested for COVID prior to taking leave and any who test positive will be prevented from traveling.

In granting Holliday Block Leave, the military services have to balance the need of servicemembers to see their families versus the need to protect the force from COVID infection. To date, some 75,000 members of the military have tested positive for the virus. Relatively few deaths have occurred because servicemembers tend to be younger and in much better health than the general population.

Fort Benning has announced that its COVID safeguards will change from health protection condition level HPCON Bravo to HPCON Charlie, as troops return from leave in the two weeks from January 4 through 18. Condition Charlie will require some quarantine of troops when they return. These will include restricted access to military facilities, cancelation of in-person gatherings, and restriction to barracks or off base housing while returning personnel is tested for COVID. This modified quarantine will mean that most soldiers will be going to work assignments to home without access to other facilities on base.

Fort Sill will test troops returning from leave for COVID tests, imposing 10-day quarantines on those who test positive.