The coronavirus leads to new rules when shopping at the commissary

Julia LeDoux
March 18, 2020 - 1:07 pm

Defense Commissary Agency

Heading to the commissary to pick up some supplies during the coronavirus pandemic?

Be prepared for some changes.

The Defense Commissary Agency has announced a 100-percent ID card check so that only authorized customers, including those disabled veterans with VHIC cards, will be able to shop at the military food stores.

According to the DeCA release, while the policy is in effect, visitors will not be allowed to enter the commissary. The change is designed to help with social distancing and crowd control. Children under 10 with their parents don’t have to have an ID card.

Commissary cashiers are no longer handling patron ID cards either. Instead, customers will be asked to scan their own IDs.

Effective March 19, all commissaries will suspend early-bird shopping to allow more time for stores to be restocked and cleaned.

In a move to lessen panic-buying, the agency has also instructed its store directors to use their discretion in placing shopping limits necessary to help maintain stock availability.

Retired Navy Rear Adm. Robert J. Bianchi, DoD special assistant for commissary operations, announced the shopping limits policy March 14 in response to a growing number of customers engaged in unauthorized purchases for the purposes of resale or hoarding.

“These decisions should not contravene or override any restrictions or guidance provided by installation commanders,” Bianchi said. “However, in the absence of installation commander direction, our store directors are authorized to make local decisions as they deem necessary to control stock shortages through instances such as panic buying," he said. “They still must inform base leadership when they are implementing these restrictions, but they can use my authority to move forward.”

DeCA is also encouraging its employees to closely monitor their health and asks them to stay home if they, or someone in their household, are sick.

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