NTC and Garrison re-open services, loosen restrictions amid COVID-19

NTC’s Commanding General, Brig. Gen. David Lesperance conducts live Facebook update with the community.

FORT IRWIN, Calif. — As the nation approaches a holiday weekend, many soldiers and residents at the National Training Center and Fort Irwin questioned what Labor Day could look like in the midst of COVID-19.

In San Bernardino County, there are more than 47,000 cases and 700 plus deaths.

“We’ve got some good news to share with the community and I’m excited to share,” NTC’s Commanding General, Brig. Gen. David Lesperance, said. “We’ve made some modifications to the General Order and we’re going to open up some additional services as a result of that.”

Those changes include:

-Approval for all leaves and passes unrelated to permanent changes of station (PCSs), as well as exceptions to policies (ETPs), have been delegated to 06-level commanders and those commanders can delegate to troop or company commander level.

-Non mission-essential travel to Barstow is now authorized.

-Visitor restrictions are still in place but the approval authority is now delegated down to the Lieutenant Colonel level.

Lesperance also provided an update on Opportunity Leave.

“Between Rotation 20-10 and Rotation 21-02, there was an order published that directs all 06-level commanders to afford, liberally, Opportunity Leave for their soldiers and I want soldiers to know that, so they can plan on that.”

Lesperance explained that there will not be a date put on the calendar because each brigade site unit has a different timeline for how they support the following rotations. Each unit will have a timeline for submitting leave and affording leave and soldiers must be back for 14 days before being tested and having contact with the rotational unit.

Leaders are also looking at another leave window over the holidays, between Thanksgiving through the first of the year.

“From the beginning, I’ve said that reducing or safeguards is a conditions-based process … and the conditions being guidance from higher, the governor’s Stay Home Order, county officials and of course the conditions in our surrounding communities and those places where many of you may travel for recreation or essential services,” Lesperance said.

San Bernardino County has seen some improvements, but the county is still on the states/governor’s watch list. He reiterated that the three numbers his team looks at are case rates, positivity rates and rate of acceleration and said those three metrics in Fort Irwin and in Barstow look really good.

“Thankfully with two rotations in a COVID-19 environment complete, we now know that our mitigation measures are working and there have been no intermingling of cases between our rotational training units and the community,” Lesperance said.

Soldiers, families and employees are asked to visit NTC’s website, home.army.mil/irwin to read the updated General Order and daily updates to COVID-19 conditions on post. The updates are also posted on the NTC Fort Irwin Facebook page.

The next live update from the Commanding General is Sept. 9. Lesperance provides updates once a month on RSOI day three. They can be viewed at Facebook.com/NTCfortirwin.

The Garrison Command team continues to conduct their updates each Wednesday at 2:30p.m. on Facebook.com/FtIrwin. Lesperance reminded the community that constructive feedback is always welcome.

*Modified Reopenings*

-AAFES/PX Barbershop/Salon: Opened Aug. 31 (760-331-9281)

-Samuel Adams Barber Shop (Ms. Cho): Opened Sept. 3 by appointment only;


-Samuel Adams Desert Oasis Restaurant (Outdoor Dining Only/Reservations Required): Opened Sept. 2

Hours: Wed.-Fri., 4-9 p.m., and Sat. and Sun., 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

*Weekend Brunch will be served on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. (760-380-5837)

-Desert Winds Bowling Center: Opened (Sept. 4). Meals provided via to-go boxes for eating at Bowling Lanes (760-380-4249)


Mondays and Tuesdays: 11 a.m. -1 p.m.

Wednesdays- Fridays: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Saturdays and Sundays: 1 – 8 p.m

Two modified re-opening announcements also came from the Fort Irwin FMWR:

***The Box Fitness Center opened Sept. 4 under the following guidelines:

-Monday-Sunday, 5 a.m.-8 p.m.

-Close every hour and a half for cleaning

-Active Duty and dependents only (15 years and older)

-100% ID Card check

-Closed: Climbing Wall, Boxing Room and Family Fitness Room (except for Pregnancy PT)

-Closed: Showers, Locker Rooms and Saunas

-Open: Bathrooms

-No FOB access

-Maximum Occupancy: 63 people

-Social Distancing measures remain in effect

-No Group Classes or Personal Training Sessions

-Operating hours for Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 7), will be 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

***The Warrior Zone opened Sept. 9 under the following guidelines:

-Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m.

-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m.

-Close every hour and a half for cleaning

-Active Duty only

-100% ID Card check

-Bathrooms open

-Maximum Occupancy; 35 people

-All customers must wear face coverings

On Aug. 20, the MWR’s Outdoor Recreation Center reopened, after shutting down on July 29. They have limited operations and request that guests call before visiting. Their number is (760)380-4327.