Covid-19 Measures for the Benelux

Belgium (Updated July 22, 2021)

1. Latest news (July 22, 2021)

The federal government and the federated entities convened the Consultative Committee to discuss the current coronavirus situation. The Consultative Committee welcomes the progress made on vaccinations but remains vigilant. By the end of August, more than nine out of ten of the most vulnerable people and more than eight out of ten adults will most likely have been fully vaccinated.

Thanks to the successful vaccination campaign, an increasingly lower proportion of cases now result in hospitalization. Nevertheless, the virus circulation must be stopped in order to reduce the risk of new variants.

2. Current measures

The Consultative Committee has decided to keep the existing Summer Plan, but has made a few changes because the more contagious Delta variant is now also dominant in our country.

  • A. Face masks, social distancing and ventilation

The Consultative Committee has confirmed the importance of wearing a face mask, keeping a safe distance and providing sufficient ventilation indoors. With the exception of children under the age of 12, wearing a face mask remains mandatory in the following circumstances:

• when it is impossible to ensure compliance with social distancing rules according to the provisions of the Ministerial Order;

• in shops and shopping centres;

• in publicly accessible areas of companies, public administrations or associations and of the cultural, festive, sports, recreational and event sectors;

• in conference rooms;

• in auditoriums;

• in places of worship and buildings intended for the public practice of non-denominational moral services;

• in libraries, game and multimedia libraries;

• in private or public crowded places, such as shopping streets, markets, bric-a-brac markets, year markets and funfairs, as determined by the competent local authority;

• on public transport and in stations;

• in establishments and places where catering activities are permitted, both for customers and staff, unless whilst eating, drinking or sitting at a table;

• when moving around in public and non-public parts of courthouses and courtrooms and, in other cases, in accordance with the guidelines laid down by the Chairman;

• during trade fairs including exhibitions;

• during demonstrations.

Face masks may be removed occasionally whilst eating and drinking, and when it is impossible to wear one due to the nature of the activity.

At events, cultural and other performances, sports competitions and training sessions and conferences held outdoors where the public is required to remain seated, face masks may only be removed for as long as the person remains seated.

  • B. Travel

• The applicable travel rules remain in force.

• There will be a stricter procedure for countries in the European Union or Schengen Area where dangerous virus variants are circulating, regardless of which color code applies to the country.

When returning from a European high-risk zone, people who have not yet been fully vaccinated should, in addition to a PCR test on day 1 (including quarantine), also take a PCR test on day 7. The test on day 1 is not needed if the person in question has already had a PCR test during the 72 hours prior to arrival on Belgian territory.

If the PCR test result is positive, the person will be required to self-isolate for 10 consecutive days.

• There will be tighter checks on filling in the Passenger Locator Form and on being in possession of an EU Digital COVID Certificate.

• The Consultative Committee recommends that organisers of youth camps make every effort to ensure supervisors and participating young people are tested before departure in order to prevent infected people from attending.  

  • C. Events

The Covid Safe Ticket can be used for events with 1,500 people or more and is available for people who are fully vaccinated (i.e. two weeks after the final dose), have a recovery certificate or a recent negative test result.

From 13 August, the Covid Safe Ticket will only apply to outdoor events for 1,500 people or more. From 1 September, indoor events will also be eligible. When using the Covid Safe Ticket, rules concerning face masks, social distancing and CIRM/CERM restrictions are no longer applicable. However, there must be a plan for crowd control management, sanitary precautions must be followed and adequate ventilation (with an indoor CO2 meter) must be provided.

  • D. Vaccination rates among healthcare providers

The Consultative Committee has confirmed the proposals of the Interministerial Conference on Public Health and has invited the Ministers of Health to:

• update and complete the summary of vaccination coverage;

• strengthen consultation with professional groups to further sensitise healthcare providers;

• give healthcare providers who have not yet been vaccinated another opportunity to get vaccinated;

• take the necessary initiatives, in consultation with healthcare institutions and occupational health services, to achieve public reporting of vaccination coverage per institution as soon as possible.

3. 10 tips for enjoying a safe summer

1. Get vaccinated. The more people are vaccinated, the safer it becomes for all of us.

2. Wash your hands regularly. And also follow the other hygiene rules such as when coughing or sneezing.

3. Do you feel ill or do you have symptoms? Stay home and contact your GP.

4. Test yourself if you have not yet been vaccinated. You can buy a self-test from your pharmacist.

5. Go outside. Because it’s safer outside.

6. Smaller is better. A group of five is safer than a group of fifty.

7. Is everyone in your group vaccinated? Then you can take off your masks.

8. Ventilate indoor areas. That’s how you avoid the formation of a virus cloud inside.

9. Maintain a safe distance. It is safer to remain at 1.5 metres until everyone has been vaccinated.

10. Keep it safe while travelling, too. Download the digital COVID certificate, use your coronavirus app, and find out about local rules.

4. Need more information ? Click here and read the latest news.

Netherlands (Updated July 5, 2021)

1. Reopening Plan - Step 4

The vaccination drive in the Netherlands has picked up speed. Well over 13 million vaccine doses have been administered. Almost 5 million people have now been fully vaccinated and another 4 million have received their first dose. This is reflected in the number of new infections and the number of people being admitted to hospital with COVID-19, which are now both falling sharply. Most restrictions are therefore no longer necessary. That is why the government has decided that step 4 of the reopening plan can be taken and that more restrictions than planned can be relaxed.

Restrictions on number of visitors at home and group size lifted

From 26 June there will no longer be a restriction on the number of visitors people can receive at home. The same applies to the number of people who can form a group, for example in a park or restaurant. Currently, the maximum group size is 4. This rule will no longer apply. However, it is still important to stay 1.5 meters apart when you have visitors or meet up with other people.

Face mask requirement dropped in most situations

The requirement to wear a face mask will no longer apply in most situations. It will continue to apply only in situations where staying 1.5 apart is impossible. For example on public transport, on aeroplanes and other forms of passenger transport, at stations and airports, and in secondary schools.

More scope for working at the office

The recommendation to work from home unless this is not possible will change. From 26 June employees who currently work from home can, in consultation with their employer, work up to half of their hours at the office. People must stay 1.5 meters apart in offices at all times, including in lifts and cafeterias. The government is calling on people to travel to work outside peak hours as far as possible.

All locations open and all events permitted with 1.5-metre distancing subject to conditions. From 26 June restrictions on opening hours will be lifted. Certain conditions still apply at indoor and outdoor locations. At locations where people are seated, they must be given assigned seats 1.5 meters apart. This means that in theatres, for example, not all seats can be used and that in restaurants tables and chairs must be positioned a safe distance apart. Registration and a health check are mandatory. At locations where people move around, like shops and museums, the maximum capacity is 1 person per 5 square meters. If a coronavirus entry pass system is used, people do not have to stay 1.5 meters apart and locations may open at full capacity.

From 26 June, all events held in public venues, like hospitality venues, cinemas, conference centers and concert halls, are permitted. At locations where people have an assigned seat the maximum number of people is equal to the maximum number of seats available with 1.5-metre distancing. At locations where people move around, like shops and museums, the maximum number of visitors is 1 per 5 square meters. From 30 June other events that require a permit can be held subject to conditions.

Sports and 1.5-metre distancing

Amateur sports matches and competitions can be held for all ages from 26 June. Spectators are permitted, but they must stay 1.5 meters apart. No 1.5-metre distancing at locations and events using coronavirus entry pass system. At locations where a coronavirus entry pass system is used, people do not have to stay 1.5 meters apart. Currently, the only valid entry pass is a negative test result obtained through pre-admission testing. From 23 June proof of vaccination and proof of recovery can also be used. These 3 options can be displayed in the CoronaCheck app, which is being updated. Coronavirus entry passes are expected to be used mostly for festivals and other events. Dance venues, like nightclubs and discos, can also use a coronavirus entry pass system, in which case they can open without restrictions.

Alcohol ban and advice on singing, shouting and playing wild instruments. The ban on the sale of alcohol after 22.00 will be lifted on 26 June. The ban on drinking alcohol or having it on your person in public spaces after 22.00 will also be lifted. The urgent advice not to sing, shout or play wind instruments in groups will also no longer apply.

Free coronavirus test for people travelling abroad. People travelling abroad from the Netherlands in July and August can get tested for free. These free tests are intended for people who are not yet fully vaccinated and are required to show a negative test result before travelling abroad.

Looking ahead. The basic rules continue to apply. In mid-August the government will decide how and when the final step of the reopening plan can be taken. This will involve lifting the 1.5 meter rule and the other basic rules.

2. Travel to and from Belgium and Germany to the Netherlands: As of 10 June 2021, the Dutch Government changed its travel guidance for Germany from Code Orange (High Risk) to Code Yellow (Medium Risk). This means that if you travel/return to the Netherlands from Germany:

1.There will no longer be a quarantine requirement, and

2.You will no longer need to provide proof that you have tested negative for COVID-19.

It also means that effective 10 June, the Dutch government’s advice to limit visits to Germany to essential travel will no longer apply. The rules by the German government for travel from the Netherlands, last updated on 31 May, remain the same: for short visits (less than 24 hours), for those living/working in the border area, you don’t need to quarantine or provide a negative test result.

Please note, the travel guidance for travel/return to the Netherlands from Belgium will remain unchanged. In general, this means:

  • You must quarantine for 10 days if you travel/return to the Netherlands from Belgium. This requirement applies even if you have been vaccinated. If you get tested on day 5 you might be able to shorten the quarantine period.
  • If you are aged 13 or over and travelling/returning to the Netherlands from Belgium, you must provide proof that you have tested negative for COVID-19. This applies for both public transport and when traveling in your own vehicle. (The English page with more details on this will be updated soon.)

HOWEVER, in regard to the quarantine requirement, there are exemptions that could apply to you. And check the exemption category that applies to you for conditions and required documents!

  • Stays of less than 12 hours in a very high risk area
  • Stay of less than 12 hours in the Netherlands (when travelling by car)
  • Cross-border workers, students or schoolchildren commuting for the purpose of work or education
  • People performing military duties (personnel working for the Defense organization)
  • Other reasons, please check the list.

There are also exemptions to the requirement for a negative test result:

  • Children aged 12 and under
  • Stays of less than 12 hours in a very high risk area when traveling by car, provided that the means of transport is only briefly left for necessary stops
  • Stay of less than 12 hours in the Netherlands (when travelling by car)
  • Passengers with a NATO travel order or a NATO 2-visa
  • Cross-border commuters who work/study across the border at least once a week. They must also be able to provide proof of:

- The country they’re living in, e.g. a rental contract

- Work/school/study, e.g. declaration by employer, evidence of enrolment, declaration from school/university

When exempt, you must provide a printed, completed, and signed health declaration form instead. When you travel by car, such form is not required.

3. Basic rules for everyone

Keep following the basic rules to control the spread of coronavirus. People can still infect each other, even when they have been vaccinated. Keep washing your hands and keep your distance. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, stay at home and get tested as soon as possible. This will help prevent the virus from spreading.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly.
  • Stay 1.5 meters away from other people.
  • If you have symptoms, stay at home and get tested as soon as possible.

Wash your hands

Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly with soap and water. This will help prevent the virus from spreading.

  • Always do this when you get home or visit someone.
  • Touch your face as little as possible.
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow.
  • Don’t shake hands with others.

Stay 1.5 meters away from other people

If people are close to each other they can easily pass on the virus.

  • So you should keep your distance from people you do not live with, including relatives and friends.
  • Avoid busy places.
  • Work from home, unless that is not possible.
  • Limit contacts with other people.
  • Wear a face mask where required, such as on public transport and in shops.

COVID-19 symptoms ? Stay home and get tested as soon as possible

  • If you have symptoms, avoid infecting other people.
  • Stay at home and make an appointment to get tested.
  • Even if your symptoms are only mild, like a runny nose.
  • Stay at home while you are waiting for your test results.

4. For further information and guidance, visit the Dutch government’s web page on COVID-19 here

5. Useful documents

  1. Testing

Germany (Updated June 7, 2021)

1. Latest news (June 7):

As of June 7, in Germany, Corona vaccination is available to anyone who wants it and who is living in Germany - in doctors' surgeries, at company doctors' offices and in vaccination centers. Nevertheless, patience is needed when making vaccination appointments: it will still take time before everyone who wants to receive a vaccination does. However, for people who already have a vaccination appointment due to the previous prioritization rules, the entitlement to vaccination remains unchanged. Even though this removes prioritization, it is still possible for countries to maintain it in vaccination centers or to offer vaccination to certain groups, for example children and adolescents.

Also new: As of 7 June, vaccinations against the coronavirus can now also be given in companies and by private doctors in private practice. Company doctors will receive 700,000 doses of the Biontech vaccine in the first week, according to Federal Health Minister Spahn.

Italy is no longer classified as a Corona risk area. This was announced by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) on Friday. The Czech Republic, Austria - with the exception of the federal states of Tyrol and Vorarlberg - as well as eight Swiss cantons, some holiday regions in Croatia and the French island of Corsica will also no longer be considered risk areas.

Travelers arriving in Germany by land from these areas will no longer have to observe entry restrictions. At the same time, further countries will be downgraded from high incidence areas to simple risk areas. This applies to Turkey, Sweden and Lithuania.

Uruguay is now considered a virus variant area

Also with effect from Sunday, 6 June, Uruguay will be newly designated as a virus variant area. This means that all travelers from the South American country - including those who have recovered or been vaccinated - must observe a 14-day quarantine. Due to the particular danger of the virus variants, there is no "free testing" option. The RKI also identifies the United Kingdom, including the Isle of Man and all Channel Islands, as well as eleven other countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America as virus variant areas.

2. Rules continue to apply

  • Curfew: between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. in areas with an incidence above 100 under the rules. The government says only those with a “good reason” should be outside during this time. Exceptions include medical emergencies, walking the dog and professional reasons (for example taxi drivers or going to work). Jogging and walking remain permitted until midnight if you are out alone.
  • Essential shops like supermarkets, drugstores and pharmacies remain open. Above a 7-day incidence of 100, they will have to close at 10pm in affected regions because a curfew will apply.
  • Non-essential shops, such as clothes shops and department stores, must close to customers at an incidence rate of 150. But they can stay open for staff to provide delivery or collection services. Customers don’t need a negative Covid test to pick up an item form a shop. If the incidence is below 150, it is possible to shop at non-essential outlets with an appointment (click and meet) and with an up-to-date negative Covid rapid test result.
  • Private meetings are possible with a maximum of five people from two households, whereby children up to 14 years of age are not counted.
  • Only non-contact sports are allowed outdoors (alone, in pairs or with members of the household). The exception is children up to 14 who can play contact-free sports outside in a group with up to five other children.
  • Amusement parks, indoor playgrounds, swimming pools and other facilities remain closed. The same applies to theatres, operas, concert halls, cinemas, museums, exhibitions and memorials.
  • Outdoor areas of zoos and botanical gardens can remain open if hygiene concepts are worked out – in addition, guests over the age of six need a negative rapid Covid test.
  • Private travel and visits that are not necessary should be avoided.
  • OP masks or masks of the KN95 or FFP2 standards must be worn when shopping and on public transport.
  • Click here to know everything about the current COVID-19 regulations in Germany.

3. Travel

The rules differ by the risk category of all areas the traveler has been to in the 10 days before entering Germany. These are either 1) risk area, 2) high risk area or 3) virus variant area. These are determined by the RKI and regularly updated. You can check for updates here.

There are three categories. They are 1) those who are vaccinated, 2) those who are recovered, and 3) those who are tested.

- Vaccinated: proof of a complete vaccine series using Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Janssen (J&J) vaccines at least 14 days prior.

- Recovered: proof of a PCR test diagnosis of COVID-19 at least 28 days prior but no longer than six months ago.

- Tested: proof of a negative rapid antigen test no more than 48 hours prior or a negative PCR test no more than 72 hours prior, either as a test result or a doctor's statement.

Travel Entry Registration

A travel entry registration must still be completed prior to entry into Germany. Proof of one of the three categories listed above must be uploaded. If technical errors prevent it from being filled out, the traveler is required to fill out and send in a form as soon as possible. For more information on the travel entry registration requirement, click here.

Travel by plane

Negative tests are still required for everyone age 6 and up who is entering Germany by air, unless they are fully vaccinated or recovered and traveling from a non-risk, risk or high risk area. Absolutely everyone must have a negative test if coming from a virus variant area.

However, travel to Germany remains severely restricted, except for Germans and citizens of European Union countries, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, and residents of a handful of countries with few or no cases of the virus, including South Korea. Americans living in the U.S. are not allowed to enter Germany for leisure travel, the German Interior Ministry said on its website, which was last updated May 12. But “the list of non-EU countries is regularly reviewed and updated as necessary,” it said.

Exception for local border traffic:

Those who enter a risk area (not a high risk or virus variant area) as part of local border traffic for less than 24 hours are exempt.

Travel from a risk area

- No quarantine for those who are vaccinated, recovered or tested.

- Children under 6 exempt and don't need to quarantine.

- Everyone 6 and up still are required to test within 48 hours after arriving in Germany if they did not test beforehand, unless they are vaccinated or recovered.

Travel from a high risk area:

- No quarantine for vaccinated or recovered individuals

- 10 day quarantine for everyone else. This can be ended early with a negative test on Day 5.

- Those not vaccinated or recovered, ages 6 and above, need to test prior to entry to Germany

Travel from a virus variant area:

- Everyone needs to test before arrival in Germany, even those vaccinated or recovered, regardless of mode of entry.

-14 day quarantine for everyone, no way to shorten it; no exceptions.

Note: Please check with your chain of command and/or your local garrison for any additional information or guidance specific to your unit and your location. Another good source for more information on COVID-19 in the U.S. Army Europe and Africa area of operation is the USAREUR-AF official website. Click here.

Latest News for Travelers

Belgium

1. CovidSafeBE - ​Traveling to and from red zones is now possible with the EUROPEAN DIGITAL COVID CERTIFICATE FOR TRAVEL within the EU. If you are a Belgian resident and you return from a red zone (in the EU), you can do so with that certificate without further obligations. The condition is that you have been fully vaccinated for at least two weeks (two shots, except with the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine), or that you can present a negative PCR test or a recovery certificate. Those who have not been fully vaccinated for at least two weeks will still have to get a PCR test, starting from children aged 12. Download the official CovidSafeBE app on your mobile device. Select your language and answer 3 questions to find out which COVID certificates are available to you. Then you can use your digital ID to sign in and download and save your certificates. The app is not yet available to DoD personnel who obtained a U.S. vaccine. The reason for that is similar to the Netherlands, namely that the app doesn’t yet register vaccinations provided by the U.S. government.  The exception to this is SHAPE personnel who participated in the SHAPE vaccination campaign. Those who received one of the Belgian vaccines can get a Belgian travel certificate. Learn more about travel certificates.

2. Rules for non-residents looking to arrive in the country from a non-EU country from July 1st:  Belgium currently does not allow such arrivals in unless they were residents/allowed under special circumstances, but as long rules are followed this will no longer be the case. For more information, see the COVID-19 measures in Belgium above.

3. As of June 25 - Belgium has coloured orange on the coronavirus map of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). To colour orange, the incidence rate (which shows the number of cases per 100,000 people) between 75 and 200 is needed – Belgium’s incidence is currently 112.3 according to the latest Sciensano figures – and a positivity ratio between 1 and 4% – in Belgium, this lies at 2.2%. The coronavirus situation is rapidly improving, and if infections continue to fall at this rate, Belgium could reach an incidence of fewer than 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants by 29 June, which would result in it colouring green on the European map by the end of this month. The European colour codes are an indication for the EU member states to impose conditions on returns to or arrivals from countries, such as obligatory quarantine or submitting negative tests. 

LEARN MORE ABOUT Travel REQUIREMENTS in Belgium

The Netherlands

1. As of July 1 -Learn more about new conditions for entering the Netherlands.

2. Travel guidance: The Dutch Government changed its travel guidance for Germany from Code Orange (High Risk) to Code Yellow (Medium Risk). This means that if you travel/return to the Netherlands from Germany:
1.    There will no longer be a quarantine requirement, and
2.    You will no longer need to provide proof that you have tested negative for COVID-19. 

It also means that effective 10 June, the Dutch government’s advice to limit visits to Germany to essential travel will no longer apply.  The rules by the German government for travel from the Netherlands, last updated on 31 May, remain the same: for short visits (less than 24 hours), for those living/working in the border area, you don’t need to quarantine or provide a negative test result. 

Please note, the travel guidance for travel/return to the Netherlands from Belgium will remain unchanged (see COVID-19 measures above).  

Plan on Traveling Soon?

Please ensure your follow country requirements, as well as unit guidance. View US ARMY EUROPE PROCEDUES FOR UNOFFICIAL TRAVEL DURING COVID-19 for more information. 

Before you Travel

If you plan to travel internationally, get tested before you travel by air into the United States (US), or be prepared to show proof of a recent positive viral test and a letter from your healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel. Read more from the CDC about requirements for international travel.

Need to shop but are on restriction of movement? 

The DeCA Shopping Program is established in order to assist community members who hold a US DoD ID card and are unable to shop for themselves due to COVID-19 quarantine/self-isolation.

Covid-19 Guidance and Information

Restriction of Movement

Belgium

  • 10 day quarantine, negative results from day 7 Covid-19 test releases individual from quarantine (red zone)
  • All persons returning and travelling through and who are staying at least 48 hours must fill out an identification form (Passenger Locator Form)
  • Non-essential travel abroad outside of the EU is currently prohibited for people whose main residence is in Belgium. Non-essential travel to Belgium from outside the EU is prohibited for persons whose main residence is abroad
  • Travel age 6 and up must have negative test no earlier than 72 hours prior to travel. A sworn statement must also be carried with passenger to prevent being denied access at border inspection.
  • Exemption from quarantine does not authorize exemption from Covid-19.

Learn more about Covid-19 regulations in Belgium.

Learn More About ROM Requirements in the Benelux.

    The Netherlands

    • 10 day quarantine with negative results on or after day 5 release with some exceptions
    • Covid-19 test requirements (if 13yo or over) and travelling from most all countries with some exceptions
    • Negative NAAT (PCR) test result based on a sample collected no more than 24 hours before boarding.

    ---or---

    • Negative NAAT (PCR) test result based on a sample collected no more than 72 hours before arrival in the Netherlands AND a negative rapid test result based on a sample collected no more than 24 hours before boarding.
    • A negative COVID-19 test result is not mandatory if you are travelling by car or travelers on bus/train within 30km
    • Complete and carry a health declaration.

    Learn more about Covid-19 regulations in the Netherlands.

    Learn More About ROM Requirements in the Benelux.

      Germany

      • 14 day Quarantine (risk area, high incidence area or area of variant concern)
        • Exemptions-passed through risk area and/or Germany; or <24 hours
        • Reductions
          • fully vax; recovery from infection –0
          • high incidence, neg test –arrival +5
          • no exceptions nor reductions for areas of variant concern
        • Pre-testing, 6 yrs or older (48 hours)
          • Area of variant concern (all)
          • High incidence, neg test or proof of fully vax or proof of recovery
          • Risk area, same as high incidence (air), proof NLT 48 hours after entry (land or sea)
          • Digital entry registration from risk area, high incidence area or virus variant area.

      Learn more about Covid-19 regulations in Germany.

      Learn More About ROM Requirements in the Benelux.

      Prevention

      The best way to prevent illness is to reduce or eliminate exposure to viral biological agents. Tips to protect against infection include:

      • Practice good personal hygiene, especially regular hand washing, which is one of the best ways to prevent transmitting infection. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based sanitizer.
      • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
      • Keep immunizations up-to-date.
      • Ensure any environment that might harbor bio-hazards (for example, fans or ventilations systems) is regularly maintained, cleaned, and sterilized.
      • Clean and disinfect work surfaces often.
      • Clean up spills immediately.
      • Handle and dispose all bio-hazardous waste materials safely. Always handle blood and any other bodily fluids as if it can be infectious. If injury or bleeding occur, handle every person in a manner that minimizes exposure to blood and body fluids.
      • Cover your mouth and nose with a disposable tissue when sneezing or coughing and dispose of the used tissue immediately in the garbage with a lid and wash your hands.
      • Stay at home if you are sick.

      Should I wear a facemask?

      Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper strongly encourages military personnel, DoD civilians, their family members, and DoD contractors to follow CDC guidelines on the use of cloth face coverings in public settings, or where other physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Accordingly, the USAG Benelux Garrison commander is putting measures in place to regulate the wear of face coverings through the garrison footprint. Effective April 10, to reduce the risk for the entire community, the wear of face coverings will be mandatory on all AAFES, DeCA and Post Office facilities through the USAG Benelux area of responsibility. We are doing great as a community at protecting ourselves; this will help even more.

      Covid-19 Vaccination

      U.S. Army Europe and Africa released frequently asked questions concerning COVID-19 vaccination and their answers, and you can read them here.

      For further resources concerning vaccination, visit these other sites:

      What to do in Case of Covid-19 suspicion

      Q1. What should I do if I think I have coronavirus?

      A1. If you have fever and signs/symptoms of respiratory illness (e.g. cough or shortness of breath) AND meet ONE of the following criteria:

      • Travel to an affected region (China, Iran, Japan, South Korea, or Italy) in the last 14 days
      • Close contact with a laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days

      Please stay home and contact a healthcare professional for additional medical advice! Contact your healthcare provider via telephone and mention your travel history and your symptoms. Please do not go to your healthcare provider’s waiting room or to the local Hospital Emergency Department unless directed by your healthcare provider or the Nurse Advice Line.

      Q2. What will happen if your healthcare provider refers you to the local hospital emergency room for COVID-19 testing?

      A2. Several actions will take place

        1. Your healthcare provider, or patient liaison, or NAL will reach out to the designated hospital and inform them that they have instructed you to present for testing (you have already been screened). This allows the hospital time to receive you with proper protective measures and isolation rooms.
        2. Your healthcare provider will inform SHAPE Public Health Department that you will be submitted for testing. This measure is valid for the entire USAG Benelux personnel, for all locations.
        3. If you go to the Hospital Emergency Department without being screened by your healthcare provider, the Hospital will determine the need to screen you. If you do not meet the screening criteria, you may be released from the hospital without being tested for COVID-19. If you call the local Hospital without being screened by your healthcare provider, they will screen you over the phone and determine your need to be tested for COVID-19.
        4. If you are tested by a local hospital for COVID-19, contact the SHAPE Public Health, your healthcare provider, or patient liaison. You should inform them you are being tested and are waiting results. All are medical personnel can receive your confidential health information. If you are tested for COVID-19, you will likely be requested to remain at home in self isolation precautions.
        5. All USAG Benelux personnel and family members need to inform SHAPE Public Health if you are tested or on isolation for COVID-19.
        6. The severity of your symptoms will determine the need for you to be admitted to the hospital. The current Belgian Hospital treating those that need hospital care is St. Pierre in Brussels.
        7. If necessary, your healthcare team will coordinate with local health authorities to transport you to a hospital equipped to support patients with COVID-19 infection.
        8. If you are referred to remain in isolation, your healthcare team will monitor you frequently to assess your symptoms, need for further hospital care, and guidance on release from isolation.

      Q3. What is the treatment for the coronavirus?

      A3. There is no specific antiviral treatment for the coronavirus. People who think they may have been exposed to the virus should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

      Q4. What are the important numbers?

      A4.

      SHAPE Public Health/Preventive Medicine: (+32) 65325336

      SHAPE Clinic appointment line: (+32) 065445886 Brussels Clinic appointment line: (+32) 026861515

      Geilenkirchen Clinic appointment line: (+49) 02451-99-3200

      Ambroise Pare: (+32) 065414444

      UZ Leuven: (+32) 016343900

      Nurse advice line (NAL) for TRICARE beneficiaries:

          1. Bahrain: 800-06432
          2. Belgium: 0800-81933
          3. Germany: 0800-071-3516
          4. Greece: 00-800-4414-1013
          5. Italy: 800-979721
          6. Spain: 900-82-2740
          7. Turkey: 00-800-44-882-5287
          8. UK: 0800-028-3263
          9. www.mhsnurseadviceline.com

      For SHAPE Healthcare Facility beneficiaries, call Mondays through Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; for Brussels Clinics beneficiaries, call your clinic Mondays through Fridays 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m.). All others, contact your medical provider. After hours, TRICARE beneficiaries contact the Nurse Advice Line (NAL) which can be found on the TRICARE website (https://www.tricare.mil/ContactUs/CallUs/NAL.). After hours, for non-TRICARE beneficiaries contact your insurance advice line.

      If you are experiencing a medical emergency in Europe, dial civilian 112.

      Family

      Q1. What makes homeschooling successful ?

      A1.

      • Start slow. Start with one subject or lesson at a time, then add another the next day.
      • End on a positive note. If you have success with a couple of lessons, then end there. Ending when everyone is happy or
      had success builds confidence for the next day.
      • If there is frustration, anger or tears, then take a break. It is ok to stop and come back after an hour or two or the next day. It’s best to say, “Ok, let’s go outside for a bit and come back at 1 p.m. and try again.”
      • Have patience and show grace to your child. Do not blame yourself or your child.
      • Each child learns differently so it is OK if they each approach an assignment differently.
      • Khan Academy is a great website to use for resources of all ages.

      Q2. Who should I talk to if I have questions about my children’s health?

      A2. Parents with questions should contact a school nurse or healthcare provider. If you have concerns about the safety of your child’s school, contact your principal or School Liaison Officer.

      Q3. Where can I find information about Coronavirus impact on DoDEA schools?

      A3. Monitor the following website for DoDEA information : https://www.dodea.edu/Coronavirus.cfm

      Q4. How does the CYS staff prevent the spread of the disease?

      A4.

      • Staff sanitize mouthed toys, food surface areas, and activity tables after each use. Toys used by children three (3) years and older are cleaned and sanitized weekly.
      • CYS staff disinfect diaper-changing tables after each use.
      • Individual cots and mats are disinfected at a minimum of weekly. Mats/cots and bedding (sheets and blankets) are cleaned and sanitized weekly or immediately when soiled, or after use by child when a cot/mat is shared.
      • Cribs sheets are laundered daily, after soiling, and after use by child when a crib is shared. Each child’s bedding is stored separately from other children’s bedding.
      • CYS has implemented additional measures to prevent the spread of disease by employing a weekly regime of disinfecting all facilities and equipment.

      Work

      Note: click on the links for information about Advanced Placement exams: AP Letter -Key Information for AP Students with Nighttime Test Schedules - SHAPE AP Exams

      Q1: What precautions is Army taking?

      A: The Army is taking a proactive approach to curtailing the coronavirus update, including certain closures for on base installations and limiting congregation for employees and their families. These precautionary measures are location specific and employees are encouraged to monitor email activity and check the Army website specific to their post for any announcements.

      Q2: What do employees do if their command has closed their facility?

      A: Employees should contact their supervisors as they may be required to telework or report to an alternate duty location. Telework eligible employees will be required to telework during closures in accordance with their telework agreement. If no work is available the employee may be granted Administrative Leave until the facility reopens

      Q3: What is the status of an employee who is unable to report to workplace due to being isolated or quarantined?

      A: Under the direction of competent health authorities in Belgium, Host Nation employees, who are healthy and are not displaying any symptoms, but who may have been exposed to COVID-19, can be put into quarantine. This means that they will be medically isolated and their movements and contacts to others will be restricted. Employees who are subject to quarantine measures and who have already signed a telework agreement may continue to perform their duties from the place of their medical isolation, provided the required technical and data protection conditions are fulfilled. Those employees who have not signed any telework agreement will be placed on administrative leave until their attending physician confirms that there is no risk for contamination.

      For US employees, employees may be excused from work without charge to leave or loss of pay when put under isolation or quarantine by a health authority. This excused period will last for the duration of the seclusion. Where an employee is telework eligible and not ill they are required to telework during their isolation barring exigent circumstances.

      Q4: What can employees do if a family member contracts COVID-19?

      A5: A host nation employee can take up to 10 days of unpaid leave for emergency reasons or annual leave. If at a later stage, the Belgian social security system officially recognizes COVID-19 as eligible disease for preventive leave, then such leave can be granted.

      For U.S. employee, in addition to regular annual, sick, and advanced sick leave; employees may also invoke their right to unpaid Family Medical Leave to a maximum of 12 work weeks. An employee may substitute accrued annual and/or sick leave for unpaid leave under this provision

      Q5: Can a manager mandate that an employee be sent home/tested if they show symptoms of infection?

      A: Employees are encouraged to exercise caution and report to their physician as soon as they suspect they may be infected. Managers may send employees home and ask them to contact their family doctor. If the employees refuse to see their family doctor, management will request an appointment with the labor physician, who will determine further steps to be taken.

      Q6: What else can managers and employees do to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

      A: Managers and employees are encouraged to practice “social distancing” by limiting the amount of direct contacts with each other and the public at large. Canceling or postponing social gatherings, conducting meetings electronically instead of in person, planning for liberal work leave policies, and encouraging good personal hygiene can all help to limit the amount of physical contact and the spread of COVID-19.

      Q7. Is there any limitation to the USAG Benelux installations ?

      To that end and pursuant to the 21st TSC Commander's General Order #1, we implemented some changes to limit our travel to only what is absolutely necessary.

      As of 27 March 2020, DES began implementing limited access to the USAG Benelux installations from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. This didn't impact your ability to access the Commissary and other essential services. During this timeframe, DES will be enforcing those measures on post for people conducting "unnecessary travel" or curfew violations. Please also note that the USAG Benelux will continue to screen people
      entering post, and has a system in place to ensure that those not deemed medically fit for entry are precluded from entering. We are in this fight together, and together we will win.

      Q8. Is physical presence reduced at Geilenkirchen AB ?

      Yes. The National Support Unit at Geilenkirchen AB is refining operations to meet the Secretary of Defense Health Protection Condition Levels intent. Physical presence on base will be reduced to the max extent possible with a handful of exceptions but we are still open for business through distance means. At this time, only the 470th ABS Military Treatment Facility, Post Office and Command section will be manned. All other sections can be reached via the POC info located under the NSU Operations and Services link on our main COVID-19 ops webpage also at https://www.spangdahlem.af.mil/Units/470th-Air-Base-Squadron/.

      Definitions

      Isolation: the separation of people known to be infectedwith COVID-19 (confirmed case)

      Quarantine: the separation of people possibly exposed butnot yet showing symptoms.

      Person Under Investigation : a person in quarantine whodevelops symptoms, which will lead to him/her being tested for COVID-19.

      COVID-19 lab testing positive: a person who was quarantinedand who became a confirmed case and moved to isolation.