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Kirtland to allow retirees, veterans back on base

Kirtland Air Force Base will allow 11,000 workers – and retirees – back on base as it enters the third phase of its reopening next week. Pictured is the base’s Wyoming gate. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Military retirees will be allowed back at Kirtland Air Force Base next week with the installation lifting some of the restrictions put into place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Installation commander Col. David Miller announced the changes during a Facebook town hall meeting Thursday. The base will enter the third phase of reopening on Monday, with up to 11,000 additional workers being allowed back on base.

“We feel the temperature, the climate is right, right now” to safely allow retirees and veterans with benefits back on base, Miller said.

The retirees and veterans will have access to the base exchange, commissary and shoppette without any restrictions on Tuesdays and Thursdays from open to close, he said. Additional days will be added in two-week increments. Saturday will be added to the schedule in two weeks if no outbreaks occur on base.

“We are going to ask for face coverings to be worn inside the facilities before you go in,” Miller said. He said ID cards will be checked.

Stores on the base are being allowed to operate at 50% capacity.

Retirees and veterans will also be able to access other morale, welfare and recreation facilities on base that are open on all days of the week.

The east side fitness center is restricted to active duty, National Guard and reserve personnel from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. All other people with access may use the gym after 1 p.m.

Installation access for off-base food deliveries has been restored, with normal security access guidelines and protocols.

Up to 75% of the workforce that has been working from home is being allowed to return to the work on the installation. Another 10,000 will still be working from home.

Miller said positive coronavirus cases on base remain “incredibly low” considering the number of people who come on base. He said the base had its first positive case in four weeks on Wednesday.

Miller said the person had access to the food court. The food court was closed temporarily as a precaution.

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