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COVID-19 Ops: Fitness Center and Child Development Center phased reopening

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany – --

Team Ramstein leaders hosted a virtual town hall June 12 to provide updates and answer questions about phased reopening of the Southside Fitness Center and Child Development Center.

Brig. Gen. Mark R. August, 86th Airlift Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Ernesto Rendon Jr., 86th AW command chief, addressed traveling outside of the local area, what health protection condition Bravo will look like, and gave further guidance on European Command travel policies.

Lt. Col. Brandi Rountree, 786th Force Support Squadron commander, provided information on the Southside Fitness Center reopening and Ms. Melissa Wesley from the Child and Youth Services flight chief talked about the first phase of child care operations.

Below are summarized answers to many questions asked during the town hall.

If Germany is “green”, why are we still limited to travel within Rheinland-Pfalz?
In this particular case “green” is referring to a permanent change of station. EUCOM guidance prevents military members from crossing international borders.

Why are we only opening the Southside Fitness Center?
In looking at German guidance, Air Force guidance and hygiene protocols, Southside Fitness Center is the one facility that allows us to adhere to all protocols and maximize space and to allow more customers.

Can you clarify the requirement for face coverings for children attending CDCs? Do they have to be made of cloth?
Yes, the face coverings must be made of cloth. It does not have to be a mask specifically, it can be a scarf or a buff or as long as it provides proper coverage. We ask that you bring in three to five daily.

Any possibility of gym appointments earlier than 0600?
Yes, we are looking at that. We are looking to open Northside next with staggered appointments starting at 0500.

I am a dual military spouse but my spouse is stationed at Spangdalem. Will I be classified as dual military or a single spouse?
You will be classified as dual military and will be considered in our Phase two. The only cases for dual military to get an exception is if one of the members is deployed.

Can we hold vigils on base to show solidarity with civil injustice?
We have to set up a process when it comes to things like vigils to make sure we provide safety; COVID-19 is still going on so we can’t have gatherings of more than ten and we need to coordinate with the public health team. We also have to coordinate with equal opportunity to make sure we stay on the right target. If it’s a vigil, Chaplains need to lead it by providing the script and coordinating everything that goes forward.

At what phase can personal trainers return to the fitness centers?
Personal trainers can resume services during Phase five. We are still looking at date for that to start. We are waiting until Phase five is so we can maximize our space and amount of customers we have in the facility.

When will youth sport start?
Youth sports, to include youth programs, are starting in Phase five. COVID-19 restrictions require a lot of staff, for Phases 1-4 we are utilizing the youth sports staff in the mission essential child care facilities.

When Germany’s border restrictions end, can we travel outside the country after that date?
No, EUCOM guidance states we cannot cross international borders and we’ll let you know as soon it is updated.

Can non-U.S. active duty personnel make gym appointments as well?
Yes, we are opening up our appointments to our NATO active duty partners during Phases 1-3. For our reservists and retirees the gym will open to you during Phase four.

What’s the plan for the school age program? Since I am not high on the priority list do I risk losing my spot?
No, your slot will be waiting for you when we can provide you care in the appropriate phase. Please note, families won’t be charged while we are not providing you service.

What is the process for getting events approved on base?
For official things like retirements and promotions contact Base Protocol. Different events of more than 10 people must go to the base gatekeeper. We need people to be proactive due to the public health and legal requirements so please submit requests 10 business days in advance.

Does Phase two of the Child Development Center reopening include active duty with Department of Defense civilian spouses?
Active duty military with a working spouse are covered in Phase three.

Can dependents travel to and from the US and outside the state of Rheinland-Pfalz?
We continue to ask DoD dependents and family members to stay in the state.

When can military to civilian couples us CDCs?
Though we do not yet have a date those members will be accepted during Phase three.

When will the testing center reopen?
We do have testing capability now but the focus is currently on promotion and military upgrade training.

Is there any talk about face coverings no long being required?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is still telling us this best way to slow the transmission of COVID-19 and we don’t see that changing anytime soon. This will continue to be a balance with our German counterparts.

For a list of frequently asked questions visit the COVID-19 page on Ramstein’s website.