FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- As Alabama and other states begin to open up more and more businesses to restart their economies, Fort Rucker is keeping its General Order No.1 unchanged to protect its people, its mission and its surrounding communities.Maj. Gen. David J. Francis, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker commanding general, hosted the post’s third Facebook town hall addressing the installation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic May 11.“I want to start by saying how proud we are of the Fort Rucker community and the disciplined manner you’ve carried out the fight against COVID-19,” Francis said. “By doing so, you have protected our people, given us the ability to continue with our mission and protected our local communities. This has been difficult on all of you and your families, and your efforts have not gone unnoticed.”He said that while Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey was that evening relaxing many restrictions that the state had in place, she was taking these measures to reopen the economy of Alabama, adding that while he agrees with the governor on the actions of the state, Fort Rucker’s priorities are different and the post will go about meeting those priorities differently.“We continue to assess the COVID-19 situation daily, monitoring the case rates at 25-, 50- and 100-mile distances, including counties in Alabama, portions of Florida and portions of Georgia, as well,” he said. “The fact is that the case rates remain unstable, with spikes occurring above the average case rate. Based on this information and our unique mission at Fort Rucker, General Order No. 1 and all of its directives remain in effect.“While the environment outside of Fort Rucker causes us to keep General Order No. 1 in effect, we have decided to start a phased opening of facilities and services on post where the conditions exist to allow us to do that,” he said.That phased opening was highlighted by the Army and Air Force Exchange Service barber shops at the main exchange and mini-mall opening up May 12, but other changes were coming, as well, said Col. Whitney B. Gardner, Fort Rucker garrison commander, who also advised people to keep their eyes on the post Facebook page and website to stay on top of the changes.“This is a team-effort type of document that we do our best to keep updated daily – all changes and updates are highlighted in red,” he said, adding that the Department of the Army photo lab begin would begin taking appointments and the privately-owned weapon range would open May 12.Gardner said officials were planning to open the tax assistance center as early as May 26, opening the indoor pool at the main fitness center May 15, and opening the Center Library and Coffee Zones at Bldg. 5700 and Lyster Army Health Clinic next week.“We will continue to assess and examine each facility to determine when and where to begin expanding operations,” the colonel added.Col. Jimmie J. Tolvert, Lyster Army Health Clinic commander, also announced that the clinic would be opening up more routine appointment to beneficiaries, and would also open up appointments for physicals  as part of Phase 1 of its three-phase reopening strategy, adding that people could find all of the clinic’s changes on the unit’s Facebook page.Command Sgt. Maj. Brian N. Hauke, command sergeant major of the Aviation Branch, added that Soldiers are to keep executing individual physical readiness training since the fitness centers are remaining closed.“As we continue to remain focused on our No. 1 priority, our people, now, more than ever, we must remain disciplined,” Hauke said. “Stay fit, stay disciplined and stay healthy out there Fort Rucker, thanks for everything you do for Fort Rucker and Army Aviation.”Francis said that when conditions allow for changes to be made to General Order No. 1, he will make them.“I’m not waiting two weeks to make a change – if we can make one, we’ll make it immediately as soon as we have the conditions to do so,” he said. “Again, this is a very tough situation and the challenges are not small. We continue to assess the situation daily and will make adjustments to restrictions as conditions allow us to do so.“Thank you again for your diligence and grit that will see us through this crisis by protecting our people, our mission and our local communities,” Francis added. “We provide a critical mission here at Fort Rucker that impacts our operational Army on a daily basis, and without your diligence and without your discipline, we couldn’t get that done. Our hats are off to you and we thank you for your continued support. As soon as we can lift some of these restrictions out there, we will certainly do it in as timely a fashion as possible.”