The largest military base in the world announced earlier this month it will temporarily close three workout facilities due to the ongoing federal government hiring freeze implemented by President Trump.
In a March 9 Facebook post, Fort Bragg representatives confirmed its Blackjack, Hosking and Funk gyms would close indefinitely as of March 11.
"We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause the patrons of these three physical fitness centers," the post said. "The remaining 11 physical fitness centers will operate on normal business hours. We will update this page when the facilities are scheduled to reopen."
The Fayetteville Observer reported that staff regularly assigned to the closed gyms will be temporarily reassigned to fill vacancies at other facilities.
Since President Trump's 90-day federal hiring freeze went into effect on Jan. 23, the North Carolina Army base has been affected by a "natural attrition of employees," Col. Brett Funck, a Fort Bragg garrison commander, told the Observer in a statement.
"The closures are temporary, but at this time we do not know when we will be able to reopen these facilities," Funck said.
The freeze is negatively impacting the Army’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs, which have already undergone significant budget cuts and restructuring initiatives in recent years, an Army spokesman told Stars and Stripes. These programs provide service members with childcare, fitness and library services.
Stars and Stripes reported that similar staffing shortages have affected facilities at Fort Bliss (Texas), Camp Lejeune (North Carolina), Marine Corps Air Station New River (North Carolina), Joint Base Lewis-McCord (Washington) and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (Arizona).
Military service members are exempt from the hiring freeze—along with 16 other civilian job types as defined by the Pentagon—but gym staff are not included. The Pentagon will only fill positions that directly support contingency operations and deployments, such as those in cybersecurity and law enforcement. Civilian jobs at shipyards and depots will also remain open for new hires, according to a report by Military.com.