WASHINGTON -- Effective immediately, leave and liberty outside the local area of your command is exempt from ongoing COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper approved the leave exemption for all military on June 29. The Navy's rules for implementation came in NAVADMIN 189/20 on July 2.
Approval authority for leave outside of the local area will be determined by the echelon 2 commander. Delegation of that authority can not be lower than the unit commanding officer, officer-in-charge or equivalent — Branch Head, Division Director, etc.
All other guidance for transitioning from a stop movement to a conditions-based phased approach to personnel movement and travel, remains in place.
"Commanders and supervisors will conduct a risk assessment of the health status and travel itinerary for personnel requesting leave or liberty outside the local area," wrote Vice Adm. John B. Nowell, Jr., the Navy's top uniformed official in the message.
Commands also have the responsibility of reviewing a Sailor's travel plans to verify they have a plan to both keep themselves safe, as well as ensure they don’t become a vector of infection when they return.
Sailors should not go on leave or liberty out of the local area if they have a fever or display any other symptoms that could indicate COVID-19 infection. In addition, Sailors should not travel if they have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus within the past 14 days.
Before departure, commands must establish with their travelers a means of reliable communication. This allows for quick access for reacting to any circumstances that arise during leave or liberty.
While traveling away from their home area, Navy Service members must comply with any Department of Defense, federal, state, or local restrictions in place due to COVID-19.