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Vandenberg AFB declares emergency; access limited to essential personnel amid outbreak

Vandenberg AFB declares emergency; access limited to essential personnel amid outbreak

VAFB Chapel closed (copy)

The Vandenberg Air Force Base Chapel is shown empty in this Sunday, March 21, photo. After closing to observe social distancing as a COVID-19 precaution, the chapel is set to host virtual services via Facebook live for the foreseeable future.

As a preventative measure to limit the spread of COVID-19, a public health emergency has been declared for Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The move was made Friday by Col. Anthony Mastalir, commander of the 30th Space Wing at VAFB. The declaration is in line with similar moves made by officials with California, Santa Barbara County, and many cities amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on VAFB, but, as of Tuesday, there were 18 such cases reported in the county.

"We are taking proactive steps to protect the health and safety of our personnel in accordance with guidance from the Department of Defense, Centers for Disease Control, and state and local officials," Mastalir said. "We are implementing prudent procedures and policies designed to protect the people while also ensuring our ability to carry out our national security mission."

A previous order from base leadership that went into effect Friday limited VAFB access to essential services and personnel.

The 30th Medical Group Pharmacy, commissary and Base Exchange — or retail store — will remain open to all authorized beneficiaries, which include retirees, veterans and family members of active duty personnel who have a valid ID card. 

Up-to-date information on coronavirus at VAFB can be found at and on Facebook at

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Along with declaring a local emergency, which made the city eligible for potential reimbursements from FEMA, the City Council voted unanimously to waive late fees and nonpayment shut-offs for utility customers, to close City Hall to the public beginning Wednesday, and to cancel all future committee and commission meetings — except for those of the City Council and Planning Commission — through April.

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