In 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.
COVID-19 Guidance and Information
- Police Letter 1 - COVID-19 Policy Guidance for the Garrison Community
- Policy Letter 2 - Norms and Mandatory Protective Measures for Entering USAG Benelux Bases, Sites, Facilities and Use of Garrison Services
- Policy Letter 3 - Child & Youth Services (CYS) mission critical childcare priorities
- Policy Letter 4 - COVID-19 Critical In-processing Procedures
Maj. Gen. Mohan Information
COVID-19 fact sheets and tips
- 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)
- U.S. Army Garrison Benelux COVID-19 UPDATE - Mandatory Use of Face Covering (APRIL 8)
- U.S. Army Garrison Benelux COVID-19 Update (March 26)
- 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
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
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:
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
- 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.
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?
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 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/.
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.
Measures in Belgium
Latest News: The National Security Council, extended to include the ministers-president, reached an agreement to proceed with phase 4 of the phasing-out from July 1, on the basis of the agreement of the GEES experts, who refers to the favorable evolution of the epidemiological situation.
The six golden rules remain in force:
1. Compliance with hygiene measures
2. Preferably organize activities in open air
3. Taking extra precautions for people who are in high-risk groups
4. Respecting safety distances
5. The enlarged bubble, which is increased from 10 to 15 different people per week, in addition to your family. As a reminder, this is an individual right
6. Group activities may not involve more than 15 persons, including children. This applies to all informal gatherings, whether they take place indoors or outdoors
Are allowed to open under certain conditions:
• Swimming pools and wellness centers
• Amusement parks and indoor playgrounds
• Theaters and cinemas
• Casinos and gaming halls
• Conference rooms
• Reception and function rooms with a limit of 50 people
One of the conditions is that protocols are followed. In addition, the general rules already in force for other activities, such as the mandatory observance of safety distances, the introduction of time slots and crowd management, the cleaning of infrastructure and the wearing of face masks are still strongly recommended.
The following activities may not yet resumed at this stage:
• Activities linked to nightlife, such as nightclubs
• Mass events
Nevertheless, it will be possible to organise activities with an audience present from July 1, subject to certain conditions laid down in protocols.
For regular events held in permanent infrastructures such as theatres, cinemas, stands and congress halls that are organized, protocols will be developed with the competent ministers and GEES experts.
For one-off events taking place in the public space an online tool (matrix) will be available from July 1, which will serve as a reference for local authorities when granting permits for these events. Clear rules will also have to be applied.
All these events are subject to a capacity limit:
• 200 people indoors;
• 400 people outdoors.
This capacity limit will be increased in August to 400 people indoors and 800 people outdoors, provided the health situation allows for it. An exception to exceed this limit may be requested for permanent infrastructures with a seated public, subject to safety regulations.
The maximum number of attendees for outdoor events also applies to demonstrations. These must always be the subject of a request for permission from the local authorities. In any case, they must always be static and take place in an area where safety distances can be observed.
At the same time, in addition to the resumption of these activities, certain protocols will be relaxed from July 1:
• The possibility to go to the store with people from the contact bubble and without time limit. Safety distance always applies.
• Lifting the restriction on the number of market stalls. Health protocols and measures continue to apply.
With regard to the National Holiday, it was decided that the traditional military and civil parade will exceptionally take place in a different format in order to meet health requirements. Various artistic performances will take place in symbolic places to put our country and our artists in the spotlight. They will be broadcast live on TV. More details will follow later.
As far as the longer-term prospects are concerned, preparations for the start of the new school year are already in full swing. The Ministers of Education, in collaboration with the GEES experts, have drawn up a color-coded system that indicates how schools should organise themselves on the basis of the health situation. The Ministers of Education will explain this plan in more detail during a press conference.
Measures in the Netherlands
Latest news: Relaxation of COVID-19 measures in the Netherlands. More is possible, but all at 1.5 meters distance.
Wednesday, June 24, the government announced a new relaxation of measures at what will be, for now, the last press conference about the corona crisis.
From July 1, measures will be relaxed for, among other, for public transport, as well as gatherings in-and outdoors. The main rule remains the same: to keep 1.5 meters distance.
Bellow follows a summary of the measures per July 1:
-No maximum amount of people for gatherings, as long as they can keep 1.5 meters apart (if this isn't possible, the maximum is 100 people indoors, 250 outdoors). Due to permit requirements, the expectation is that bigger events will start around mid-August.
-This includes bars and restaurants, theaters, cinemas, houses of worship, birthdays, neighborhood parties, weddings, funerals, and sports matches.
- (Public transport):
-Also allowed for non-essential travel
-All seats can be used
-Face masks are still required
-Travelers are asked to avoid rush hour where possible
-Taxis and touring car companies are allowed to drive again
-People from different households are allowed in the same car, without a maximum number - wearing a face mask is advised.
-Gyms will re-open
-Indoors and outdoors sports are allowed
-No distance is required for contact sports
-Saunas and casinos will re-open
-Nightclubs and similar venues will remain closed, the government will review early September
-After the summer break, all high schools will re-open fully
-Students only have to keep distance from teachers
Fore more information, click here