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REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (WHNT) — Team Redstone is implementing a mandatory masking policy due to the increase in COVID-19 cases in Madison and surrounding areas.

Fueled by a recent Omicron strain BA.5 variant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) fear that this may be the beginning of a new wave.  

The policy went into effect immediately, according to a post made on social media.

The CDC states that when the community levels are high, that’s when the mask-wearing policy goes back into effect. Redstone Arsenal is under strict orders to not take any more chances. 

Kavanaugh Breazeale, the communications director for Redstone Arsenal says that at this time, they have no choice but to place the mandate. 

“The Department of Defense, the Department of Army, and Redstone [have] always been committed to providing a safe work environment for all the employees and all of the visitors and everyone coming to Redstone,” said Breazeale. “But the Department of Defense had a policy that whenever numbers of COVID-related activities went up in a certain area that the mask policy had to come back into effect.”

The indoor masking policy applies to every employee and all of the buildings located on the Arsenal.

Redstone Arsenal has seen its visitation population soar this summer.

Health officials told the Department of Defense that it’s time to get the virus back under control, and Redstone Arsenal should replace the mask mandate whether the visitors and employees like it or not. 

“As we know the Huntsville and Madison County area and the numbers have been spiking a little bit and so we had to go back to masks today because of a department of defense-wide policy,” Breazeale told News 19. “Everyone who’s entering a Department of Defense or Redstone building or anything on Redstone property must be masked.”

Team Redstone officials say they will continue to monitor the data.