Jun 24, 2020 10:53 PM

General Order bars Fort Riley Soldiers from visiting Manhattan's Aggieville during the late night - early morning hours

Posted Jun 24, 2020 10:53 PM

Fort Riley Soldiers are prohibited from visiting Aggieville in Manhattan from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. That is part of a general order issued by the commanding general, Major General John Kolasheski, after the announcement of numerous positive COVID-19 cases in Riley County in recent days.

The announcement of the commanding general's order was made by the Command Sgt. Major for the 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley, Ray Harris, during a town hall meeting at Fort Riley on Wednesday. "Additionally while visiting Aggieville during authorized hours, 0501 until 2159 ( 5:01 a.m. - 9:59 p.m. ) , Soldier members are required to wear a face mask covering unless actively eating or drinking."

Harris noted that the commanding general issued the order  "in light of the increased community spread of COVID-19 and to ensure the health, safety and well being of our Fort Riley community."

The general order comes after Riley County has reported 156 positive COVID-19 cases during the pandemic, including 83 active cases at the present time. Health officials confirmed 29  of those positive cases on Monday and 24 on Wednesday.

"I recognize that many of the businesses in Aggieville are strong supporters of our Soldiers and I understand that many of our Soldiers enjoy spending their off-duty hours in the district," said Harris. "However preventing the community spread of COVID-19 is essential to our ability to fulfill our requirements in support of our nation."

In making the announcement Harris  noted that both Riley and Geary counties have issued updated public health orders in response to the increase in COVID-19 cases in the communities and the state. "As of today ( Wednesday ) over 12,500 Kansans have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and 765 of those cases have been diagnosed within our six surrounding counties. While we have seen a gradual reopening of our state, local community and installation over the past few weeks we've also experienced a growth in our case rate," said Harris. "Continued adherence to our preventive and protective measures is essential to deterring a surge in our immediate area."