In a move that will relax some COVID-19 restrictions, Picatinny Arsenal Garrison Commander, Lt. Col. Adam Woytowich announced to employees in in e-mail that the Arsenal will transition from HPCON Charlie to HPCON Bravo on Tuesday, June 23.
The term HPCON -- short for Health Protection Condition -- refers to the protocol that military leaders and public health personnel use to guide actions taken in response to a health threat. Commanders review and update these HPCONs based on risk levels within a local community and in cooperation with local, state or host-nation guidance.
The transition follows direction from Picatinny Arsenal Commanding General, Brig. Gen. Vincent F. Malone II, for the garrison to put forth a plan to resume operations as applicable under HPCON Bravo.
“Let’s keep in mind that we are all in this together,” Malone said, in a video message to the workforce posted on the installation’s Facebook page.
“What one of us does, whether it be at home, in the local community, or at work, has implications for us all,” Malone said. “We must follows the plans and guidelines at the national level, DoD level, your service level, the installation level, and your organization.”
“All DoD established criteria will have been met for this transition,” Woytowich said about the downgrade in the installation’s Health Protection Condition. “Picatinny will remain in a Public Health Emergency in HPCON Bravo.”
Under HPCON Bravo, Picatinny organizations will continue to maximize telework, but may transition up to 25% of their workforce back on base if necessary to support mission requirements.
Woytowich asked that employees refer to a memo published by the Secretary of Defense which details that face coverings will remain in effect if personnel cannot maintain six feet of social distance.
Access control points will see additional changes effective Monday, June 22.
The Main Gate continues to operate 24/7, while the Truck Gate and Mount Hope gate will be open Monday-Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Child Development Services and School Age Care will open July 6 with limited capacity. All parents currently enrolled in full day care services have been contacted and offered space in the phase one reopening of the CDC facilities. Those needing more information on care options should contact Parent Central at 973-724-5555.
Several Family Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) services are open for business including the golf course, Leisure Travel Services, Outdoor Recreation, Recreational Lodging, and Army Community Service.
The Frog Falls Waterpark is currently closed based on Installation Management Command (IMCOM) requirements to keep aquatics facilities closed at HPCON Bravo. MWR management is considering plans to reopen the pool for limited service.
However, since Frog Falls is a non-appropriated fund activity, “there is a fiduciary responsibility to only open the pool if it can generate enough revenue to cover its operating expenses. Based on limited capacity guidelines, shortened operating season, and excess maintenance costs for COVID-19 safety guidelines, opening the pool for 2020 season is unlikely,” reads a question-and-answer document that was distributed to the workforce following Malone’s Town Hall. “MWR is focused on ensuring all operations are opened in a safe manner and to limit financial liabilities in order to sustain future operations.”
Commissary and Exchange hours have not changed due to COVID-19.
Commissary Hours: Sunday-Monday Closed, Tues – Friday 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 9:00 a.m. 5 p.m.
Exchange Hours: Sunday-Monday Closed, Tue-Fri 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For a full list of MWR services, operating status, and modifications to service delivery, please visit their homepage at picatinny.armymwr.com
Woytowich told employees to contact their individual organizations for additional guidance under HPCON Bravo and ask that everyone “please remain vigilant with measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”