Are you traveling ? Latest NEWS
1. NEW!!! Since Jan. 27 and until April 18, only essential travel is authorized to and from Belgium (click here for more information and updates). To prove that your travel is essential, you have to carry a Sworn Statement. It has to be filled out for each border crossing no matter how long you are staying abroad but if it is on a frequent and repetitive nature (commuting to/from work), you only have to fill it out once. Click HERE for the form in English. Click HERE for the form in French. When travelling on official duty, you also have to fill out a Sworn Statement but you also have to be able to show a proof of official duty (for instance, travel orders). If you are staying abroad longer than 48hrs, you also have to fill in the Passenger Locator Form. Click here to see the PDF version of the document. UPDATE April 14: As expected, the Consultative Committee announced on April 14 that the ban on non-essential travel to and from Belgium will be lifted on Monday April 19. People who choose to travel within the European Union will still have to fill in a Passenger Locator Form (see useful documents). More information here and below ("Travel" section).
2. Planning on traveling soon ? If so, please ensure your follow country requirements, as well as unit guidance. Click here for more information.
3. 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. Click here for more information.
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.
Use of Masks and Other Public Health Measures: All individuals on military installations and all individuals performing official duties on behalf of the Department from any location other than the individual's home, including outdoor shared spaces, will wear masks in accordance with the most current CDC guidelines. Individuals must wear masks continuously while on military installations except: (1) when an individual is alone in an office with floor-to-ceiling walls with a closed door; (2) for brief periods of time when eating and drinking while maintaining distancing in accordance with CDC guidelines and instructions from commanders and supervisors; (3) when the mask is required to be lowered briefly for identification or security purposes; and (4) when necessary to reasonably accommodate an individual with a disability. Read the document here.
UPDATE, April 15, 2021: AFNorth Independent Schools
Based on the new German regulation and restrictions for cross-border commuting, (anticipated to be in place until 2 May 2021), daily commuters in the region, including AIS families, face significant problems in attending school. The Board of Governors has met and agreed that AIS will start school after the Easter break in remote status and remain in remote learning until further developments allow for a return to face-to-face education. We will be monitoring this situation and hope that it will be resolved quickly. National sections will be in contact with you regarding further details.
UPDATE, March 29, 2021: SHAPE schools
SHAPE Schools will be closed to in-person instruction beginning Monday, March 29. Instruction will continue with remote learning 29 March through 1 April.
The planned Spring/Easter break will commence as scheduled 2 April; students will not return to SHAPE schools for in-person instruction until Monday, 19 April.
For Kleine Brogel and Brussels American School, students will continue as scheduled with a break next week and return to in-person instruction on Monday, April 5.
We will continue to share information as it is received and encourage community members to monitor all appropriate communications channels for updates.
COVID-19 Guidance and Information
Maj. Gen. Mohan Information - General Orders
Message on restriction of movement
In our continued attempt to protect the force andcommunity, and to rapidly communicate changes, we want to provide you with thefollowing update:
All personnel entering the USAG Benelux SRO Area ofResponsibility from the United States are subject to a mandatory 14-dayQuarantine restriction of
movement (ROM). A summary of 14-day ROM standards of conduct follows:
1) During 14-day ROM, all personnel must remain in theirlodging room except for a few exceptions. There should be no congregating incommunal areas at the lodge/hotel. Wearing of masks and social distancingis required for all activity outside rooms and inside the lodge/hotel. Kidsbetween the ages of 2 to 12 are encouraged to wear masks, but not required. For breakfast, please keep minimal traffic in the lodgingcommon area to get breakfast and return back to your room. Theserestrictions apply to similar hotel services on the host nation economy.
Sponsors will be a critical component in the process toprovide life support services.
4) For our fellow "Shapians" at SHAPE, an updatefrom the Base Support Group Commander: masks are mandatory throughout the entire 500Area of SHAPE (Carrefour, RIS, Pizza Bowl, etc), which includes theparking lot....so, masks should be worn prior to exiting vehicle.
Please remain vigilant to protect ourselves, so we canprotect the force, and the force can protect our Host Nations and partners!
James Ross Yastrzemsky
Colonel, U.S. Army
Commander, U.S. Army Garrison Benelux
COVID-19 fact sheets and tips
- Use of Masks and Other Public Health Measures (Updated Feb. 4, 2021)
- COVID-19 Home, Work, and Community Wellness and Prevention Standard Operating Procedures
- Face Covering Dos and Don'Ts
- CSM Herzfeld Script and FAQ on travel ban extension (Town Hall 24 April)
- Read here about the travel restrictions for DoD Components
- COVID-19 evolving situation and information
- 10 tips for At-Home Quarantine or self-Monitoring
- COVID-19 Testing
- 470th Military Treatment Facility: COVID-19 Handout
- Army Traffic Safety Training Program (ATSTP) and Motorcycle Safety Foundation Cards Impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic
- CID Warns of Increase in COVID-19 Related Fraud, Scams
- Information about Advanced Placement exams: AP Letter -Key Information for AP Students with Nighttime Test Schedules - SHAPE AP Exams
- Army Traffic Safety Training Program (ATSTP) and Motorcycle Safety Foundation Cards Impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic
USAG Benelux COVID-19 Policy Letters
- COVID-19 Policy Letter #1, COVID-19 Policy Guidance for the Garrison Community
- COVID-19 Policy Letter #2, Norms and Mandatory Protective Measures for Entering USAG Benelux Bases, Sites, Facilities and Use of Garrison Service
- COVID-19 Policy Letter #3, Child & Youth Services (CYS) mission critical childcare priorities
- COVID-19 Policy Letter #4 (Updated), COVID-19 Critical In-processing Procedures
Information about civilian personnel
- Civilian Personnel Guidance: Questions and Answers related to the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak
- Novel Coronavirus Q&A for HN employees in Belgium
- Read here the guidance and FAQ on work flexibilities for HN/US personnel
- Claims under the Federal Employees' Compensation Act due to COVID-19
1. U.S. Army Europe Procedures for Unofficial Travel During COVID-19
Are you planning to travel ? If so, please ensure your follow country requirements, as well as unit guidance. To see the U.S. Army Europe Procedures for Unofficial Travel During COVID-19, click here.
2. Requirement for proof of negative COVID-19 test or recovery from COVID-19 for all air passengers arriving in the United States
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. On January 12, 2021, CDC issued an Order requiring all air passengers arriving to the US from a foreign country to get tested no more than 3 days before their ight departs and to provide proof of the negative result or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 to the airline before boarding the flight. This Order will go into effect on January 26, 2021. Click here to see the document.
***UPDATE April 14: As expected, the Consultative Committee announced on Wednesday that the ban on non-essential travel to and from Belgium will be lifted on Monday April 19. People who choose to travel within the EU will have to fill in a Passenger Locator Form, similarly to before the ban was imposed.
Replacing the travel ban, there will be a strict follow-up system of testing and quarantining: those coming back from the red zone have to go into quarantine and have to be tested on the 1st and 7th day of their return. People who choose to travel within the EU will have to fill in a Passenger Locator Form (PLF), similarly to before the ban was imposed. Those who do not comply with the testing rules risk a coronavirus fine of €250.
This system will remain in place until Belgium can switch to using the EU’s Digital Green Certificate, commonly known as a “vaccination passport.”
Additionally, the rules imposed by the European Union for non-essential travel outside the EU will still remain in force.
What is a red zone?
The color of a zone per country is defined by the coronavirus maps of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), which are published every Thursday and are based on data reported by the EU member states to The European Surveillance System. The colors of the areas on the map are based on various coronavirus indication figures.
- Dark red: If the incidence rate (the number of confirmed cases per 100,000 inhabitants over two weeks) is 500 or more;
- Red: If this figure is between 50 and 150 and the test positivity rate of tests for Covid-19 infection is 4% or more, or if the incidence rate is more than 150 but less than 500.
*On 14 April, France, Spain, Italy, Germany and many other neighboring countries were all colored red on the map.
Ban on non-essential foreign travel to and from Belgium (Jan. 27 to April 18)
Since Jan. 27 and until April 18, only essential travel is authorized to and from Belgium. To prove that your travel is essential, you have to carry a Sworn Statement. The Sworn Statement lists all the "essential travel" reasons. It has to be filled out for each border crossing no matter how long you are staying abroad but if it is on a frequent and repetitive nature (commuting to/from work), you only have to fill it out once. If the type of travel is different every time, you have to fill out separate forms each time. Those living within 20km from the French border can continue to cross the border for their regular activities (i.e. shopping, for instance) but a Sworn Statement has to be filled. If you are staying abroad longer than 48hrs, you should fill out the Passenger Locator Form on top of the Sworn Statement.
When travelling on official duty, you also have to fill out a Sworn Statement but you also have to be able to show a proof of official duty (for instance, travel orders).
When returning to Belgium from official travel, please follow the below instructions (on top of the test/quarantine requirements):
- The form at https://bta.belgium.be/en, needs to be filled out by the "employer" prior to the travel.
- Once filled out and submitted, this form will initiate a certificate number to be added on the PLF.
- The PLF needs to be filled by each traveler, 48hrs prior to arrival in Belgium. It can be found here: https://travel.info-coronavirus.be/public-health-passenger-locator-form. If you mark the "professional purpose for travel" on the PLF, it will ask for the BTA certificate number.
Public Health Passenger Locator Form
Belgium initiated new procedures requiring people (16 years or older) who travel outside the country (by air, train, bus, or car) for over 48 hours to complete a traveler form (Public Health Passenger Locator Form) following a stay outside the Schengen Area or in a "high-risk" area as defined by Belgian authorities and located inside the European Union (EU). This form will enable public health officers to locate you in case you have been exposed to a serious communicable disease.
Find all the information here.
The Public Health Passenger Locater Form is available here.
4. For Germany and The Netherlands, see FAQ.
5. The European Union launched an interactive tool with the information that you need to confidently plan your European travel and holidays. Click here.
Click also on the links below for more information:
- From Belgium
- From The Netherlands
- Information and alerts: U.S. Department of State - Bureau of Consular Affairs
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.
NEW: 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- All USAG Benelux personnel and family members need to inform SHAPE Public Health if you are tested or on isolation for COVID-19.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
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:
- Bahrain: 800-06432
- Belgium: 0800-81933
- Germany: 0800-071-3516
- Greece: 00-800-4414-1013
- Italy: 800-979721
- Spain: 900-82-2740
- Turkey: 00-800-44-882-5287
- UK: 0800-028-3263
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.
Q1. What makes homeschooling successful ?
• 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?
- 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.
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/.
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.
UPDATE, April 14, 2021: Measures in Belgium
1. Latest news (April 14, 2021)
The Consultative Committee has established that the pressure on healthcare remains relatively high, especially in the intensive care units. Over a third of all hospitalized coronavirus patients are in intensive care which is considerably more than a year ago or last autumn. With the emergence of new virus variants, the pandemic has become more contagious and aggressive. The Committee also notes, however, that a number of core metrics are evolving favorably: a decrease in the average number of daily COVID-19 infections; an incipient decrease in the average number of hospital admissions; the reproduction number is below 1.
Furthermore, the Committee has observed an acceleration of the vaccination campaign. Scientific research shows that a high level of immunity is already achieved two to three weeks after a first vaccination. On the basis of this overall picture, the Consultative Committee has made the following decisions:
2. What you need to know:
- April 19 - Reopening of Schools
- Nursery education, primary education, special needs secondary education, the first stage of secondary education and the system of ‘learning and working’: full-time face-to-face education;
- 2nd and 3rd stage of secondary education: 50% face-to-face education;
- Higher Education: physical presence on campus 1 day/week;
- Exams can take place in person.
*Note: If the infection rates evolve favorably and after an assessment by the Ministers of Education which will be submitted to the Consultative Committee, full-time secondary education can resume from 3 May.
- April 19 - Non-essential travel: stringent testing and quarantine regime
The travel ban on non-essential travel within the European Union expires on April 19. For travel outside the European Union, the European rules continue to apply. However, the existing advice will remain in place advising against all non-essential travel.
Upon return, a stringent testing and quarantine regime is in place. Police will check who has not been tested upon their return on the basis of the Passenger Locator Form (see "useful documents"). Those who do not abide by the test rules risk a coronavirus fine of EUR 250.
- April 26 - Shops and non-medical close-contact professions / outdoor gatherings
- The Easter pause ends on 26 April. This means that from then on people will be allowed to meet outside in groups of no more than 10 people.
- From this date onwards, shops will also be allowed to receive customers without an appointment. People are no longer required to shop alone but may be accompanied by one other member of the household. Non-medical close-contact professions, including hairdressers and beauticians, are allowed to reopen subject to tightened protocols.
- At the same time, some 30 pilot projects are being launched to establish, under practical and scientific guidance, how the various economic sectors can safely resume their activities or how closing them can be avoided in the future.
From this point, measures are more dependent on two major vaccination milestones, according to de Croo. The first milestone is when seven out of ten people aged over 65 will have received their first shot, and there must also be a “permanently improved” situation in the intensive care units. Once that happens (around 8 May), Belgium will switch to a broad outdoor plan. The plan includes:
- End of curfew: The curfew will be replaced with a ban on gatherings of more than three people at night.
- More cuddle contacts: Inviting two so-called ‘cuddle contacts’ of the same household will also become possible.
- Terraces reopen: The hospitality industry will be allowed to open their terraces.
- Events: Organized outdoor activities will once again be possible with a maximum of 25 people. Worship services, cultural performances, and events with a maximum of 50 people are also allowed.
- Amusements parks will also reopen and professional flea markets may be organized again.
Time? When seven out of ten people over 65 will have received their first shot, and the situation in the intensive care unit is “permanently improved.”
Once this happens more social contacts and events will be possible again and more could be done indoors. This is expected in early June. This includes the organization of cultural events and fairs outdoors, more social contacts, and the opening of gyms indoors.
3. Ban on non-essential foreign travel to and from Belgium.
As expected, the Consultative Committee announced on April 14 that the ban on non-essential travel to and from Belgium will be lifted on Monday April 18. More information to follow.
4. Need more information ? Click here and read the latest news.
UPDATE, April 14, 2021: Measures in the Netherlands
1. Latest news (April 14): plan to reopen society step by step
The government has now drafted a plan to reopen society safely, step by step. But it depends on fewer COVID-19 patients being admitted to hospital. It’s also important that everyone keeps following the basic rules. This means washing hands often, keeping your distance, getting tested and staying home when you have symptoms. This prevents infections and will help open up society more quickly.
All current measures (see below: "2. current measures") apply until reopening plan gets underway. The first step of the reopening plan will not be taken until at least 28 April, 2021. All current measures will continue to apply until that time.
Out-of-school care centers (BSOs) will however reopen for all children as of 19 April. As stated last month, students in higher education (HBO institutions and universities) will be able to attend in-person classes one day per week as of 26 April, but only if the number of infections allows.
First step of the reopening plan
In the first step of the reopening plan, the evening curfew will be lifted and shops and outdoor seating areas at restaurants and bars will be allowed to reopen, under certain conditions. In addition, people will be able to receive two visitors a day at home instead of one. It’s important to keep in mind that this first step will be taken no earlier than 28 April and only if there is a clear decrease in the number of COVID-19 patients being hospitalized. On 20 April the government will announce whether this step can go ahead on 28 April.
The second step will not be taken until at least 11 May and will again depend on a clear, continuing decline in the number of new hospital admissions of COVID-19 patients. This step will open up more opportunities for participating in sports, for example. A greater array of indoor venues, such as restaurants, cinemas and museums, will be allowed to resume their activities in the third step. But certain conditions will apply, such as a maximum number of visitors or guests. This number will be increased in the following steps. The reopening plan also shows what measures will be eased when.
Pre-admission tests will hopefully enable us to open up society more quickly. Pilots are currently underway to investigate how pre-admission tests can be used on a large scale in a safe and responsible way. For example, at more locations and at events. Exactly where that will be is still being worked out.
Vaccination is a key step towards getting life back to normal. The current prognosis is that by the beginning of July this year, everyone aged 18 or older who wants to be vaccinated will have received their first vaccine dose. To find out when you will be able to get vaccinated against coronavirus, click here.
2. Current measures
- Receive no more than 1 person aged 13 or over at your home per day.
- Visit no more than 1 other household per day.
- Work from home. Only people whose physical presence is essential to operational processes and who cannot do their work from home can go to work.
- Only go outside with members of your household, on your own or with 1 other person.
- A curfew applies from 21.00 to 4.30. During curfew hours you cannot go outdoors without a valid reason. The limit to unnecessary travel is extended through May 15.
- Funerals may be attended by no more than 50 people.
- Most locations are closed, including shops (except those selling essentials like foods, "click and collect service" and shopping by appointment); theatres, concert halls, cinemas, casinos, etc.; zoos, amusement parks, etc.; indoor sports facilities such as gyms, swimming pools, saunas and spas; restaurants, bars and cafes.
- Educational institutions are mainly offering remote and online learning; primary schools and daycare centers for children aged under 4 reopened on February 8.
- Secondary schools reopened on March 1. In principle every pupil will attend in-person lessons at least 1 day per week.
- Every student in secondary vocational education (MBO) can attend in-person lessons 1 day per week.
- Higher professional education institutions (HBO) and universities can offer exams and practical training on site.
- All educational institutions can make exceptions to provide support to vulnerable pupils or students.
- For children whose parents work in critical sectors, emergency childcare is available at out-of-school care centers. Parents are urged to use this emergency childcare only if they have no other option.
- All contact-based professions, except for sex work, can now be resumed.
- Hotels are open, but hotel restaurants will remain closed and room service will be unavailable.
- From March 16, children under 13 can take part in swimming lessons in order to obtain their swimming diploma (A, B or C).
- Adults aged 18 to 26 can take part in sports activities at outdoor sports facilities. They can also take part in matches and competitions against teams from their own club. In addition, they may take part in supervised sports at other outdoor locations, provided the activities are organized by the municipality (or by another party on the municipality’s behalf).
- Adults aged 27 and over can take part in sports activities at outdoor sports facilities in groups of up to 4 people. In addition, they may take part in supervised sports at other outdoor locations in groups of no more than 4 people, provided the activities are organized by the municipality (or by another party on the municipality’s behalf).
- Use public transport for essential travel only.
- Stay in the Netherlands. Do not travel abroad and do not book trips abroad until 15 May (inclusive).
- Lockdown. For more information about the lockdown, click here.
3. Basic rules
Following the basic rules helps protect yourself and others from a coronavirus infection, even if you’ve already been vaccinated. This means washing hands often, keeping your distance, getting tested and staying home when you have symptoms. This will help open up society more quickly.
- Wash your hands. Good hygiene helps prevent the spread of the virus. Wash your hands with soap and water. Do this often, and always when you come home or when you arrive at someone else’s home as a visitor. Touch your face as little as possible. Cough and sneeze into your elbow. Wear a face mask in indoor public spaces. This will help prevent the virus from spreading.
- Stay 1.5 metres from other people, including relatives and friends. Not practising social distancing makes it easy for coronavirus to spread from one person to the next. That’s also why you should limit contact with other people and avoid busy places.
- If you have COVID-19 symptoms, get tested as soon as possible. Even if your symptoms are only mild, like a runny nose. Stay at home while you are waiting for the result, to make sure you don’t infect anyone else.
4. For further information and guidance, visit the Dutch government’s web page on COVID-19 here
5. Useful documents
UPDATE, April 15, 2021: Measures in Germany
1. Medical exception for travel from Netherlands (April 15)
As of April 8, the 470th Air Base Squadron received a specific exception from the North Rhine – Westphalia mandatory testing requirement. County Heinsberg authority has granted a specific exception to the testing requirement for U.S. Forces-affiliated-patients traveling from the Netherlands exclusively for medical care at the U.S. clinic at Geilenkirchen NATO Air Base. Direct travel to receive medical care and back to their residence is mandatory to qualify for the exception. Individuals need to carry proof of their appointment and an ID.
Proof of an appointment constitutes the following:
- Date and Time of Appointment
For booked appointments in:
- Primary Care – Obtain proof at TRICARE Online (https://www.tricareonline.com/).
- Mental Health or ADAPT or Family Advocacy – Obtain proof by calling Mental Health at 458-3378.
- Dental – You will receive an automatic email once you have an appointment. If not, call 458-3535.
- COVID-19 Vaccine – Take screenshots of your appointment as you book it.
There are other services the clinic offers that are not scheduled, such as prescription refills, laboratory service, and more. At this time, the clinic does not have a method to verify these services.
2. Restrictions on travel from Netherlands (April 6)
As of April 6, for travelers from the Netherlands to the neighboring North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany, a current negative test result must be presented upon arrival from the neighboring country. The test must have been taken no sooner than 48 hours before arrival.
For regular commuters who cross the border due to their occupation, studies or apprenticeship, a negative test taken up to 72 hours prior is sufficient, meaning that they must get tested up to two times per work week. This corresponds to similar regulations in Lower Saxony and Rhineland-Palatinate.
Adherence to the test requirement will be enforced through random checks by the police.
The test should come with a certificate showing anegative result. The test is not to be taken sooner than 72 hours before arrivalin NRW. The certificate can be shown either in print or on a mobile phone onrequest of official NRW / German authorities.
Additionally, there is a registration obligation for incoming travelers from the Netherlands. Registration must be made before arrival at www.einreiseanmeldung.de.
If there is an issue with arranging a test preventing astaff member to perform his/her duty, the supervisor is to be contacted withoutdelay.
To read the full press release from Nordrhein-Westfalen, click here.
Leadership from the garrison, Geilenkirchen Air Base and Allied Joint Forces Command Brunssum are working on further clarification and impacts.
3. Rules continue to apply until April 18
The extension of the previously existing contact restrictions until April 18 means in concrete terms:
- Private meetings are possible with a maximum of five people from two households, whereby children up to 14 years of age are not counted.
- OP masks or masks of the KN95 or FFP2 standards must be worn when shopping and on public transport.
- Employers must allow employees to work from home - wherever possible.
- Private travel and visits that are not necessary should be avoided.
- Click here to know everything about the current COVID-19 regulations in Germany.
4. Travel restrictions / border control
Please find the most up to date regulations regarding travel exceptions here.