Naval Base limits gas, grocery purchases

ACCESS: The front gate of Naval Base Guam is shown in January 2019. The base's stores are imposing purchase limits in light of the recent panic-buying over COVID-19 concerns. Post file photo

Naval Base Guam has implemented recent changes to help stop the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 and in response to panic-buying related to the public's concern over the new coronavirus.

Among the purchase limits that are now in place:

• Navy Exchange and the Orote Commissary will limit patrons to two identical items of the following products per family, per day: bleach, cleaning alcohol, disinfectant sprays, hand sanitizer, hand soap, sanitizing wipes, toilet paper and drinking water.

• One shopping cart per family. Patrons are prohibited from making purchases that are excessive or unreasonably disproportionate in volume.

• NEX will limit gasoline sales to one vehicle and a container no larger than 5 gallons per day, per customer.

The commissary is limiting the number of customers in the store to 60 patrons at a time to ensure proper social distancing.  

“After assessing the pattern of operations from last week, we were able to maintain our social distancing goals, thus providing the safest environment possible for all NBG patrons,” said the base's commanding officer, Capt. Jeffrey Grimes.

“I know that it has been a challenging time for all of us,” Grimes added. “I want to assure the community that by implementing these measures, we have made positive impacts to help reduce risk. These measures are in place because we must all do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

The Navy also previously announced that National Guardsmen and reservists, whether in active duty or not, can now access Naval Base Guam and exercise their privilege to shop in the exchange and commissary stores.

This reverses a recent restriction that National Guardsmen and reservists who aren't on active-duty status could only shop on the base on weekends. The restriction had drawn criticism from Guam Del. Michael San Nicolas as well as some members of the Guam National Guard who felt they were treated differently.

The prior policy also restricted veterans to shopping on weekends, which also caused concern from members of the community because senior citizens were seen lining up outside the commissary last weekend.

This time, the base carved out a shopping time designated for people who have base access and are 60 or older. The senior citizens' dedicated shopping hours are from 10 a.m.-noon for the Navy base commissary and from 9 a.m.-11 a.m. for the NEX Main Store on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. People with disabilities who require assistance will be authorized exclusive shopping privileges, the Navy stated in a press release.

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