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COVID-19: What to expect at Laughlin

Albert Espinoza, Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas commissary meat department head, disinfects a store shelf at the store Mar. 19, 2020. In response to the outbreak in other parts of the country, Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, has made modifications to its daily operations starting March 16 to keep the base operational while protecting the health and wellness of its Airmen, their families, the local community, and everyone who visit the base.

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas - A lot has happened over the last couple weeks regarding the novel coronavirus, as many are probably already aware.

In response to the outbreak in other parts of the country, Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, has made modifications to protect the health and wellness of its Airmen, their families, the local community, and everyone who visit the base.

Starting at the gate, one may notice the 47th Security Forces Squadron’s defenders no longer hold identification cards to scan. They are now requesting that drivers hold their own ID card to be scanned.

Once on base, visitors may notice that many base agencies have modified hours, which may result in increased wait times or delays in meeting appointments.

“We’re very customer service based, so there’s a lot of in-person service contact,” 2nd Lt. Anne Conley, 47th Force Support Squadron military personnel flight deputy commander. “It’s important for us to do this in order to minimize exposure to not only our personnel but also our customers and the local community.”

For shoppers going to the commissary or any of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service stores, they may notice limits on how many items a shopper may purchase or altered hours. While both AAFES and the commissary work harder to stock these items, they may become out-of-stock sooner.

“We’re doing this to maintain our quality of products and to increase availability to everyone,” said Ruben Gomez, Laughlin commissary officer. “We’re cleaning and sanitizing every day, and we’re doing all of this to benefit all of our customers.”

While these modifications may prove to be inconvenient, Col. Lee Gentile, 47th Flying Training Wing commander, stresses the importance of these modifications in order to prevent the spread of the virus on both Laughlin and in the local community of Del Rio, Texas.

“I do not want you to panic, but take smart actions to prepare yourself,” he said. “Be thoughtful. Take care of your family, your neighbors, and your wingmen.”

For more information about the novel coronavirus or Laughlin’s response, please contact the 47th Medical Group at (830) 298-6333 or the 47th Flying Training Wing public affairs team at (830) 298-5262