Department of Defense Updated COVID-19 Mask Guidelines

July 28, 2021 3:26 PM

The following is the July 28, 2021 memo from Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen H. Hicks updating the guidelines from the Department of Defense on wearing masks. 

From the memo

SUBJECT: Updated Mask Guidance for all DoD installations and Other Facilities
Reference: Deputy Secretary of Defense Memorandum “Updated Mask Guidelines for Vaccinated Persons,” May 13, 2021

In accordance with the updated guidance released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on “Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People,” issued July 27, 2021, the above reference is hereby rescinded.

Beginning July 28, 2021:

  • In areas of substantial or high community transmission, DoD requires all Service members, Federal employees, onsite contractor employees, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a mask in an indoor setting in installations and other facilities owned, leased or otherwise controlled by DoD.
  • Service members, Federal employees, onsite contractor employees, and visitors who are not fully vaccinated also need to continue to physically distance consistent with applicable CDC and DoD Force Health Protection guidance.
  • DoD installations, other facilities, and worksites shall, as soon as possible, post signs and post information on their websites clarifying what masking requirements apply in each installation, other facility, and worksite.
  • Organizations should consult with their servicing Labor Relations Office for guidance regarding implementation for bargaining unit employees.
  • CDC guidance and definitions of low, moderate, substantial, and high spread can be found at: Data on levels of community transmission can be found at the CDC COVID Data Tracker website found at:

    Personnel coming on to a DoD installation, other facility or workspace who do not have a mask may be provided one by DoD. All DoD personnel should continue to comply with CDC guidance regarding areas where masks should be worn, including within airports. The Department will review and revise all applicable Force Health Protection guidance to address the new CDC guidelines. Further guidance will be provided as appropriate by the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness (USD(P&R)). In addition, the Director of Administration and Management may, as appropriate and in coordination with the USD(P&R), issue further guidance for the Pentagon Reservation.

    Kathleen H. Hicks

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