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Nellis rescinds restriction barring retirees from commissary

When disabled veterans Bill and Carleen Decker went to go to the Nellis Air Force Base commissary on Monday to stock up on staples, they say they were turned back at the gate.

“We were told we would have to turn around, that veteran retirees could not go to the commissary because of the coronavirus,” said Carleen Decker, 66. “… I saw a lot, I don’t know how many, retirees going in the gate who had to turn around. I thought it was a real injustice to the retirees.”

Nellis officials announced Monday on Facebook that only Air Force personnel would have access to the Nellis Air Force Base commissary.

But by Tuesday morning, those posts had been deleted. In an email to the Review-Journal, a spokesman for the base said “it was no longer deemed necessary to restrict access.” He did not say what prompted the original restriction.

“To mitigate confusion and ensure our base personnel, retirees and their families are seeing the most correct information, we have deleted two posts from yesterday, which are no longer accurate regarding access to base support and services,” officials wrote in a Tuesday Facebook post.

The base and its services are open to all Department of Defense ID Card holders with access to the base, officials said.

Some services, such as the gym, will prioritize access for active duty members should it become necessary.

“The Nellis AFB Commissary has voluntarily limited patronage to active duty Guard and Reserve and their families during specific timeframes but the commissary remains open to all beneficiaries,” officials said.

Carleen Decker, a retired Air Force sergeant, said that the commissary is 10 miles from the house she shares with her husband, a retired Army staff sergeant.

“We had gone about a week ago and were allowed in. When we asked how long will it be, they said, ‘we don’t know, that’s all we can tell you.’ ”

Both seniors, the Deckers use the commissary for the affordable prices and the meat selection and said the smaller store would be safer, since seniors are most vulnerable to COVID-19.

“I don’t want to go to Walmart, I don’t want to go to Smith’s, because everything is out. It’s a lot easier to shop over there.”

For information on closures, commissary hours, and other frequently asked questions, please visit: https://www.nellis.af.mil/COVID-19/.

Contact Briana Erickson at berickson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5244. Follow @ByBrianaE on Twitter.

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