Army Dining Facilities, Gym Asking Soldiers to Present Vaccine Card Before Entering

Increasing pressure to get a vaccine that is not mandatory.

Image Credits: SOPA Images via Getty Images.

Soldiers and civilians must present vaccine cards to prove they have been fully vaccinated before entering dining and exercise facilities on at least one Army base in what some soldiers and spouses see as increasing pressure to get a vaccine that is not mandatory.

Beginning March 29, soldiers and civilians at Fort Bragg who presented a vaccine card were allowed to eat inside dining facilities on base, as well to visit one gym maskless. At least one other base, Fort Drum, is exploring a coronavirus wristband option as an alternative to the vaccine card.

The new rules come as the Biden administration has endorsed the idea of private companies developing some form of vaccine certification which Republicans lawmakers have argued is an unacceptable restriction on participating in normal life.

“It’s completely unacceptable for either the government or the private sector to impose upon you the requirement that you show proof of vaccine to just simply be able to participate in normal society,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said at a recent press conference.

Unit commanders recently received an email from the commander of the 82nd Airborne Division notifying them of the changes, which came down from the Fort Bragg commander. It said:

Tucker Gym will be open only to Paratroopers who are fully vaccinated plus 14 days. To enter, Paratroopers must present their [Common Access Card] card and a physical vaccination card to enter. …

All DFACs will open to 50% dine-in capacity and progress to 100% over time. … Again, Paratroopers must present their CAC card and a physical vaccination card to enter. …

This is a good thing. It’s an opportunity for us to show what back to normal looks like and it’s important that we get this right. Come back to me with your plan to get the word out to every Paratrooper in your formation before Monday morning.

The 82nd Airborne Division also notified the public of the changes in a Facebook post that said: “We’ve made great strides in our on-going war against #COVID19 [coronavirus]. We know that vaccinations and herd immunity are our best tools to return to normal. As vaccination numbers continue to rise across our formations, we can finally begin to fully re-open more of our facilities and enhance our ability to come together and take care of each other.

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