Contractor Life on US Military Bases: How the Pandemic Has Affected It

Contractor Life on US Military Bases: How the Pandemic Has Affected It

Sep 25, 2020 | Defense Base Act

If you’re one of the over 600,000 estimated civilian defense contractors, you know that working and living on US military bases isn’t easy.

In total, there are more than 4 million federal contractors of various types, with the DoD being the single largest contractor. If you’ve been stuck on-base due to COVID-19, we understand. Shelter in place orders are always tough to follow, no matter the circumstances.

So how’s it going? Let’s talk a bit about the contractor’s life these days.

US Military Bases and You

Who is included in being a federal contractor? A surprisingly large list of people can go something like this:

  • Cultural advisors
  • Security specialists
  • Military trainers
  • Translators or interpreters
  • Canine handlers and trainers
  • Construction engineers
  • Firefighters
  • Scientists
  • Vehicle mechanics
  • Heavy equipment operators (e.g. cranes)
  • Laundry service workers
  • Foodservice workers
  • Construction professionals (carpenters, electricians, etc.)
  • Truck Drivers
  • IT professionals

However, it’s by no means an exhaustive list. What could be exhausting is continuing to be in a high-risk area, due to something like the Navy’s stop-movement order.

When you are stuck on-base with your job finished or even on hold, you might be wondering what would happen to you, regarding your DBA if you got coronavirus during your deployment.

COVID-19: to Cover or Not to Cover? That Is the Question

First things first, you have to file your claims. The problem then lies in where, how, and when you contracted the virus. If it has been found it was outside of your normal scope of base duties or off-base, the carrier might withhold coverage.

Using Okinawa as an example, Japanese news reports told of servicemen partying in the downtown areas and spreading the virus. Whether or not you are covered if you contract the virus from them would be determined by if you also went to the place during or after their visit, or got it in the course of being on the base only.

The question of coverage for COVID-19 and how it will be handled is a huge one. Why? No one knows how long the coronavirus will be a major concern and block movement, but we know that President Trump is looking to further restrict local workers on bases and hand over the work to contractors.

This will in some ways limit coronavirus exposure since locals in the town won’t be going on base as often. However, it means that contractors will have to travel from base to base as needed and follow quarantine procedures every time. It will also help to boost the economy, barring government shutdowns.

The only way the federal contractor program can expand is if these carriers can cover coronavirus effectively, and take the moral high-road of covering sick contractors on deployment Currently, they are mostly investigating everything case-by-case.

This means that you are effectively a prisoner on the base, by virtue of the restrictions put in place by your medical coverage. We can help. Make sure to get the legal protection and defense you need to get through these difficult days, full of pandemic crises.

Contractor Life: Rolling Out

Life on US military bases is hard at any time, whether you’re in a low- or high-risk area. The effects of the pandemic on US military base life for contractors shouldn’t be as hard as they are. Make sure to get the representation you need, now.

You may have a lot of questions about DBA, and we have a lot of answers.

We can represent you locally, or worldwide. Don’t hesitate to call or email Barnes Law Firm today!