The Department of Defense has issued official guidance regarding movement during the COVID-19 outbreak. The order went into effect on March 13th, will last for 60 days and is specific to what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has designated as “Level 3 COVID-19 locations.” These locations include Europe, South Korea, China and Iran. While this largely affects service members who are slated to PCS or go TDY, many transitioning service members are wondering if they can carry on.
Does the Stop Movement Order Include Me?
If you’re separating or retiring from a Level 3 country in the next 60 days, you are exempt from this Stop Movement guidance. However, you are subject to travel screening requirements that the Department of Defense issued on March 11. Ensure that the airport you will be flying from has not implemented any new limitations. While you aren’t restricted by the Department of Defense to conduct movement, those countries may have travel restrictions in place. Also, pay attention to any travel limitations or requirements at CONUS airports that could impact your plans.
Can I Still Interview During This Time?
It depends. Many companies, and even military units, have implemented work-from-home operations. Reach out to your point of contact at the organization and see if they are still working on-site. Even if they are, you may not be comfortable being around people during this time. Either way, inquire about conducting your interview via teleconference. There are many to choose from, including Skype and Zoom. They may be impressed with your “outside the box” approach to get the interview done, especially if they are mostly working remote. You just may show them that you fit in with their company culture.
Wait…what Exactly is Remote Work?
Only the best way to work, in my opinion. As I said, many companies have switched to this work model to encourage social distancing. Basically, these companies are allowing their employees to work from home or anywhere besides the office. There are tools that allow employees to communicate, collaborate and continue productivity so that the work still gets done. It may be a foreign concept to you, but many companies have a work-from-home policy, regardless of COVID-19 concerns, because they have employees geographically dispersed throughout the world. Some companies have a work-from-home policy just as an incentive to work for them.
Transition questions/concerns aside, this is an unprecedented time for our country and the world at large. Cities are employing curfews or mandatory quarantines; grocery stores are struggling to meet customer demand and the economy has a huge question mark looming right now. While I won’t suggest that you panic, just be careful. If you have encountered a known case of COVID-19, exercise social distancing or self-quarantine procedures. Be cautious of not exposing the virus to high-risk members of our society, like the elderly or ill.
The transition from the military is already stressful enough. Adding a pandemic to the fray makes it more difficult, but not impossible. Be safe and good luck.