DOD is once again requiring face masks at the Pentagon and in communities at high risk of COVID-19 transmission amid rapid spread of the more contagious delta variant. The news, announced Wednesday night, went into effect immediately.

“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,” Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks wrote in a Wednesday memo.

Unvaccinated individuals have always had to wear a mask and practice social distancing.

Hicks’ memo said all DOD facilities should post signs and update their websites with site-specific guidelines.

The CDC maintains a map showing risk level by county and a detailed description of the risk levels.

Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Anthony Agosti