Are you traveling ?

1. Planning on traveling soon ? 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. The U.S. European Command (U.S. EUCOM) has further assessed The Netherlands, Luxembourg and France, in addition to Belgium,  as  "Red" countries in regards to official and unofficial travel. As a result of this assessment, travel (official and unofficial) to or from these countries by a Service Member requires an Exception To Policy (ETP) in accordance with the respective service component's procedure.  Additionally, official travel by a DoD Civilian assigned to U.S. EUCOM requires an ETP. For Soldiers, the Commanding General, 21st Theater Support Command (TSC), and Senior Responsible Officer (SRO) for the USAG Benelux area of responsibility, issued General Order Number 4 early last month, with an updated annex last week. 

3. If you are traveling outside Belgium (see updated information about location defined by Belgian health authorities as high risk at https://diplomatie.belgium.be/en),  then you are required to fill out THIS FORM and send it to PLFBelgium@health.fgov.be the day of your arrival. This applies to each member of a household 16 years or older. If traveling by air, this form must be printed BEFORE BOARDING the aircraft. For more information, click here.

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.

Read the instructions here.

Download and fill out the form here.

download.pngIn order to reduce the risk for everyone and to comply with CDC guidelines, the wear of face coverings is now mandatory on all AAFES, DeCA and Post Offices facilities through the USAG Benelux footprint. Not having a face covering could result in the denial of access to the services.

How to make your own face covering ? Click on the links below.

Template 1 - Template 2 - Template 3 - Template 4

img_521470.png COVID-19 Guidance and Information

A Letter to the Community - Aug. 12, 2020

Message on restriction of movement

BENELUX Team-

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.

2) Use of lodging facilities and exercise protocols: Useof lodging laundry facilities is authorized for use but restricted to use byone person in the laundry room at a time. Please maintain proper sanitizingmeasures to ensure cleanliness of the facility. To promote health andfitness, personnel/families are encouraged to exercise outside andcan also walk their pets. While outside, please continue to adhere to normal socialdistancing requirements (1.5 meters/6 feet) and minimize exposurewith others during ROM status. Face masks are not required outside during physical activities.

3) Reminder that service members will be released fromROM following a 2nd negative COVID test and completion of 14 days inquarantine. Units and unit sponsors will track the 14-day quarantine requirementsand adhere to the testing protocols.

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

Travel

1. Planning on traveling soon ? 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. Public Health Passenger Locator Form:

Belgium recently initiated new procedures requiringpeople (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 HealthPassenger Locator Form) following a stay outside the Schengen Area or in a "high-risk" area as defined by Belgianauthorities and located inside the European Union (EU). This form will enable public healthofficers to locate you in case you have been exposed to a seriouscommunicable disease.

Find all the information here.

The Public Health Passenger Locater Form is available here.

3. Several European countries reopened their borders for EU travelers on June 15 after nearly three months of coronavirus restrictions and lockdowns. Nearly every country has its own timetable and set of travel rules.

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:

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.

Q1. Should I wear a facemask?

A1. 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.

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. Should I wear a facemask?

A2. 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.

Q3. What will happen if your healthcare provider refers you to the local hospital emergency room for COVID-19 testing?

A3. 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.

Q4. What is the treatment for the coronavirus?

A4. 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.

Q5. What are the important numbers?

A5.

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 travel restrictions?

  • Travel to China: All non-essential travel to mainland China is unauthorized. Anyone who recently returned from China should report travel through their command, visit their medical provider and have their health tracked for 14 days.
  • Travel to Italy: All non-essential travel by IMCOM-E personnel to Italian administrative region of Lombardy and surrounding towns of Castiglione d'Adda, Casalpusterlengo, Fombio, Maleo, Somaglia, Bertonico, Terranova dei Passerini, Castelgerundo and San Fiorano is unauthorized. Essential travel must be approved by the first general officer/flag officer in operational chain of command. Personnel must check with their chain of command for travel limitations and guidance.

Q8. 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.

Q9. 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.

UPDATE Aug. 20, 2020: Measures in Belgium

Latest News: Belgium's national security council met on Aug. 20. Among the decisions:

1. From Aug. 24, shopping can be done with another person and the 30-minute time limit is removed

2. The maximum audience at events is increased from 100 to 200 indoors, and from 200 to 400 outdoors

3. Non-married couples in a long-distance relationship will be allowed to travel abroad from 1 September to see their partner

4. All pupils will return to school full-time from 1 September

5. The maximum allowed "social bubble" remains limited to five people per household until at least the end of September.

Other measures:

  • The number of people that may visit or may be visited applies to an entirely Family and not to an individual, and that number has been reduced to five individuals. Children younger than 12 are not included in this count. These five people are individuals you are allowed to have close contacts with in addition to the members of your household.
  • Non-facilitated get-togethers such as gatherings of family or friends are limited to a maximum of 10 people (excluding children younger than 12). This limit also applies to receptions and banquets.
  • Working from home is strongly recommended where possible in order to avoid too much contact between colleagues.
  • Contact tracing has been reinforced in certain specific situations where the epidemiological risk is higher because of individuals being “active,” such as when mobile or exercising. Contact details are also requested at these locations, such as in wellness centers and at sports lessons. A full list of the locations concerned will be published in the Ministerial Order. They will be subject to the same obligations as the hospitality industry.

The six golden rules remain in force:

1. Comply with hygiene measures.

2. Preferably organize activities in open air.

3. Take extra precautions for people who are in high-risk groups.

4. Respect safety distances.

5. Keep the number of people you and your Family see socially in a week to five or fewer.

6. Group activities may not involve more than 10 persons, excluding children younger than 12, which applies to all informal gatherings, whether they take place indoors or outdoors.

The following activities may not yet resumed at this stage:

• Activities linked to nightlife, such as nightclubs

• Mass events

About face covering:

  • The wearing of face covers in public is still in effect until further notice. The obligation applies in most indoor spaces where people gather: shops and indoor shopping centers, cinemas, theaters and concert halls, conference spaces and auditoriums, museums and libraries, and places of worship.
  • Face-covering in other situations is “strongly advised.”
  • Mask-wearing is already mandatory in hospitals and clinics, public transport vehicles, stops and stations, visitors to doctors and dentists, and for people exercising a contact profession, including hairdressers.
  • Face-covering is not compulsory for children younger than 12.
  • Brussels region has made masks mandatory in public effective 12 Aug 20. Anyone older than 12 is obliged to wear a mask in all of the 19 Brussels region communes. The decision was made after the average number of new weekly infections per 100,000 inhabitants rose above 50 in the 19 Brussels communes.
  • In Belgium, face covering has become compulsory in several places, and strongly encouraged in others. In Mons and Soignies, face covering is compulsory in the center. In other cities (Estaimpuis, Courtrai, Antwerp, ect...), the rule applies to all street. In Antwerp, face covering is mandatory in all public spaces for all residents above 12, and there is a curfew between 11:30 p.m. and 6 a.m.: everyone has to be at home. Exceptions are essential trips that cannot be postponed, e.g. going to work or the hospital.

UPDATE, Aug. 18, 2020: Measures in the Netherlands

Latest news: In the light of rising COVID-19 infections and hospital admissions in the Netherlands, Prime Minister Rutte and Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport De Jonge announced new rules during a press conference on August 18. As most infections seem to occur at private gatherings, the Dutch government urgently advises to limit the number of guests, both indoor and outdoor, to a maximum of six. This excludes children under the age of 13. Additionally, the advice to work from home has now been extended indefinitely (earlier it was September). Finally, travelers returning to the Netherlands from certain areas are strongly advised to self-quarantine for ten days – down from the previously advised 14 days.

The government will be supporting local authorities in taking additional action to get Covid-19 under control where necessary. This can include introducing extra, local measures in addition to the national measures already in place. We will also be implementing and strengthening certain nationwide measures.

Other measures:

1. Educational institutions should hold orientation activities online wherever possible. In-person activities can only take place in small groups and must be informative in nature. Study associations (‘studieverenigingen’) and student sports clubs can only hold in-person activities if these are necessary to introduce students to their chosen programme of study or sport. Such activities can only take place in small groups and must end by 22.00 at the latest. No alcohol may be consumed. The governing body of the educational institution in question and the head of the relevant safety region must give permission for such activities to take place. Student societies (‘studentenverenigingen’) are not permitted to hold in-person recruitment or orientation activities.

2. Restaurants, cafés and bars must use reservations (made either in advance or at the door), pre-entry health checks and assigned seating (at either a table or the bar). This applies both outdoors and indoors and regardless of the size of the establishment. Customers must be asked to provide their names and contact details so that the municipal health service (GGD) can contact them if an outbreak is traced to that establishment. Customers can voluntarily provide this information.

3. If a GGD traces an outbreak to a leisure establishment (for example a cinema, café, amusement park, theater or museum), the head of the safety region can close that establishment for up to 14 days.

4. Test centers will be created for travellers arriving in the Netherlands from high-risk areas. The first test center will be at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, with other locations following in due course. Travellers can get tested on arrival and must then self-quarantine at home. Travellers who do not get tested upon arrival, must self-quarantine for 14 days.

5. The heads of safety regions can now take steps to prevent Coronavirus hotspots emerging and to gain control of these local outbreaks. These local and regional measures are intended to make sure people comply with the basic rules and to prevent overcrowding so that the virus cannot spread further.

The measures safety regions can take include:

- Limiting the opening times of eating and drinking establishments

- Introducing behavioral measures such as making face masks mandatory in outdoor locations

- Closing places like parks or shopping centers

- Closing off parking facilities, for example at beaches or in city centers

- Managing crowds and traffic flow in busy areas

- Enforcing the basic rules and ensuring compliance with sector-specific agreements

- Banning large-scale gatherings, for example banning spectators at football matches or sports training sessions

Control over the virus

The most important thing is that we get the virus under control again. It is vital that we stay 1.5 metres away from others and continue to follow the basic rules, including at home. Especially at home, in fact. Don’t have more visitors than your home can accommodate under the 1.5 metre rule. Make sure your visitors follow the basic hygiene rules. Don’t hug each other and don’t sit next to each other on the sofa. Lots of people with Coronavirus caught it at home or at someone else’s home.

Finally, everyone with symptoms should stay at home and get tested. This will help prevent the majority of further infections. If you test positive, the GGD will carry out source and contact tracing. This will allow us to gain a clearer picture of the virus in the Netherlands, so we can take fast, targeted action to prevent it spreading further.

More information here