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COVID mask rule partially eased for EU air travel: Face masks are no longer required for passengers flying to many European Union destinations, but countries keeping the mask rule: Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Cyprus, Estonia, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Masks are still compulsory on planes that fly to or land in Germany.

Appointments are available on the DHA Appointing Portal to book adults' Moderna, Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine appointment at: https://informatics-stage.health.mil/COVAX/. All documents can be downloaded from the link on that site. Review eligibility, the FDA Emergency Use Authorization Fact Sheets, and fill out the DHA 207 v9 COVID-19 Vaccine Screening Form ahead of time and bring to the vaccination site.

Medical clinics in Bavaria also are offering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to all eligible Department of Defense beneficiaries, ages 12-17 years old. Please use the DHA Appointing Portal to schedule your child’s COVID-19 vaccination appointment: https://informatics-stage.health.mil/COVAX/

Always - Check in with your local clinic to confirm dates, times and vaccines:

U.S. Army Europe and Africa has published General Admin Message # 2201011, effective 13 January. These policy updates govern DoD personnel on and off installation, but it is incumbent upon everyone to understand host nation policies that apply off installations.

Isolation requirements for those testing positive:

Regardless of vaccination status and in alignment with recent CDC guidance, DoD personnel who test positive for COVID-19 will isolate for FIVE calendar days. Day ‘ZERO’ is the day the sample was provided. Provided the person is symptom free for 24 hours, there is no test out requirement from isolation.

HOWEVER, those personnel recovered from COVID-19 must wear a mask for an additional FIVE days as a precautionary measure, to include those places where mask wearing is not required by other DoD guidance.

Quarantine requirements for those identified as primary contacts:

All asymptomatic personnel with potential exposure (i.e. close contact) with a person who tests positive for COVID-19 are required to quarantine for FIVE days. Testing is NOT required to exit quarantine, provided the person has had no symptoms in the past 24 hours.

Exemptions to quarantine:

  • Age 18 and older and have received all recommended vaccine does, including available boosters.
  • Ages 5-17 and completed the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Previously confirmed COVID-19 positive within the last 90 days and documented as Recovered.

Close contacts must continue to wear a mask around others during their FIVE-day quarantine, and an additional FIVE-days thereafter. Personnel exempted from quarantine must still wear a mask around others for the TEN-day period.

For reference, the definition of close contact is “someone who was less than SIX feet away from an infected person (confirmed by laboratory test or clinical diagnosis) for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period).

Speak with your chain of command immediately if you experience symptoms, have been in close contact with someone who tests positive, or are unsure of current guidance. Continue to practice social distancing, wear of masks in accordance with SRO and host-nation policy.

Bavarian officials have provided signed memos for community members to carry alongside their CDC cards. Download both memos:

Read the full details of the Annex A that aligns on- and off-post gathering, travel and business restrictions with Host Nation law, under the 7ATC General Order Information tab on this page. The Tab 1 summary listed under 7ATC General Order Information banner on this page explains the local host nation laws in English. The Tab 2 explains the German Rules on Travel Between the US and Germany and is listed under 7ATC General Order Information banner on this page. The German Inbound Travel and the Bavarian COVID ordinances are also translated into English under Host Nation Resources on the page. 

7ATC General Order Information
Annex A Restrictions
U.S. Army / U.S. Embassy Links
Host Nation Resources in English
Testing Centers
Vaccine Information
German Risk Areas Map (Click on Map for Live View)

FAQs About GO #1H
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The German Pharmacists Association is offering a webpage that lists pharmacies that provide Corona testing. Search by German zip code.

http://www.mein-apothekenmanager.de/covid-19-schnelltest-suche 

 

From Regional Health Command Europe: We are aware of the discrepancy between the position of U.S. Health Authorities and certain German states on booster vaccinations for persons who initially received the Janssen vaccination. U.S. Health Authorities (The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration) consider receipt of one dose of an mRNA vaccine (i.e. Pfizer or Moderna) or a second dose of the Janssen vaccine two months after the first vaccination as rendering full booster protection. 

Presently, Germany recognizes receipt of two mRNA vaccinations administered two months after receipt of the first Janssen vaccination as being fully boosted and compliant with their 2Gplus standards. Army MTFs are required to follow U.S. Health Authority standards for administering vaccinations. As a result, our MTFs cannot offer a 2nd mRNA booster vaccination to Janssen recipients and do not recommend receipt of such a booster vaccination at this time. 

We are working with our higher headquarters and the host nation to determine an appropriate way forward. In the meantime, those who were vaccinated with Janssen may have to undergo COVID testing to enter some host-nation establishments.

Germany defines “vaccinated” (www.pei.de/impfstoffe/covid-19) as needing two shots of Jannsen (one initial vaccine and one booster) to be considered fully vaccinated. 

It also defines “recovered” as proof of a positive PCR result no less than 28 days prior and no greater than 90 days prior. So your recovery status only covers you from day 28 through day 90 after your positive PCR test.

U.S. CDC Guidance states: Everyone ages 18+ should get a booster dose of either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna (mRNA COVID-19 vaccines) at least 2 months after the first dose of J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine.

Boosters are available at the local U.S. Army health clinics to all service members and beneficiaries who are two months past their initial Janssen vaccine. 

No. You may travel by plane, train, automobile, cruise ship, or any other method. You simply must comply with all Host Nation laws regarding that method of travel.

Previously, travel by certain means was forbidden or required approval at the O-5 level. This rule was designed to prevent travelers from being stranded. For example, if you caught COVID-19 during your trip, you may not have been able to board your return flight.

Now, airlines, cruise ships, and Host Nation authorities have sufficiently developed controls that mitigate the risk of infection (for example, increased testing requirements, or a requirement to prove vaccination, before boarding a cruise ship).

It is still possible you will become infected during your travels, and it is important that you plan carefully to ensure you can safely return. In many cases, ground transportation will still be the most practical means of travel, because you may not require a negative test to drive across a border.

It is your responsibility as the traveler to know the rules of both your destination and Germany, as well as individual commercial carriers.

The short answer is “No,” but there are important considerations you must understand.  General Order #1H and Annex A no longer restrict travel destinations.  You simply must comply with all Host Nation laws regarding that travel.

Authority to approve leaves and passes is therefore returned to Company Commanders and the appropriate civilian supervisor equivalent. 

However – this is very important! – commanders and supervisors may still deny leave and pass travel if the proposed travel triggers quarantines or other restrictions on movement, and the commander or supervisor determines that those restrictions would interfere with mission accomplishment.

For example, you may wish to travel to France over Memorial Day weekend. That travel is not, strictly-speaking, forbidden. But if Bavarian law requires you to quarantine upon your return, your commander may decide that telework during that period is not practical (because, for example, they need you in the field for an exercise that week).  In that case, the commander may disapprove your leave destination.  You could still take leave locally, or you could modify your trip to travel to a location that does not require a quarantine on your return.

Bavarian and other European quarantine rules apply differently to Fully Vaccinated versus unvaccinated travelers. It is important that you educate yourself about the requirements.  As more countries publish their entry and quarantine requirements on verified outlets like https://reopen.europa.eu, COVID-19 Fully Vaccinated travelers face far fewer restrictions from Host Nation governments.

Yes! There are two websites that are very important for travelers based here in Bavaria. 

Reopen Europa is available at https://reopen.europa.eu/en/ and can be downloaded as an App in both the Google Play and Apple App Stores. This website contains loads of information about national travel restrictions, services available, mask and hygiene rules, and other things necessary to plan a proper vacation. This is your single best resource for understanding the conditions and restrictions in the area to which you will travel.

Because you will be returning here to Bavaria, you must also check the RKI “risk list,” which is found at https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/Risikogebiete_neu.html. Scroll to the bottom of the page to hit the link for the “English archive” and then check the most current list in English. Germany categorizes countries in three different ways.  Returning to Germany from any country listed as a “risk area,” a “high incidence area,” or a “variant area of concern” triggers a mandatory quarantine.

Check the most current list before you travel. In addition, if you travel to either a “high incidence area” or a “variant area of concern,” you are often required to present a negative COVID test taken within a certain amount of time, and you must show this test upon entry into Germany.

Fully-vaccinated travelers may not have to follow these quarantine rules.

Many countries, including Germany, have indicated that showing a copy of your CDC “vaccine card” will serve to prove you have been vaccinated. The Bavarian law simply states that a duly-issued vaccine record in English, German, or French must be provided.

We recommend you carry this card with you, along with your passport, during all travel.  Store it just like your passport – in a secure place, where it will not be lost or damaged. Some countries are considering creating an App or other digital proof of your vaccination or a negative test result.   

Germany will recognize proof of any EU-approved vaccine. This includes all of those currently approved by the U.S. – Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and **Johnson & Johnson (Janssen). It also includes Astra-Zeneca, which is approved in the EU but not for the U.S. It does not include the Russian “Sputnik” vaccine or any of the vaccines produced by China (Sinovac, Sinopharm).

**Germany defines “vaccinated” (www.pei.de/impfstoffe/covid-19) as needing two shots of Jannsen (one initial vaccine and one booster) to be considered fully vaccinated. 

It also defines “recovered” as proof of a positive PCR result no less than 28 days prior and no greater than 90 days prior. So your recovery status only covers you from day 28 through day 90 after your positive PCR test.

U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria recently wrote a step-by-step guide for U.S. personnel. For information on getting the EU COVID VAX Digital Certificate click here.

Germany and many other European countries have eliminated travel-based quarantines for Fully-Vaccinated travelers. In some countries, this has already happened; in others, it has been announced but not yet implemented. It is important that you understand what this means. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and many of its European equivalents, “Fully-Vaccinated” means you have the full benefit of the vaccine - including all does and boosters. 

On-post social gatherings involving non-ID cardholders from our neighboring communities in excess of the Bavarian ordinance may violate host-nation law and subject participants to civil penalties. In Bavaria, social gatherings remain severely restricted pursuant to the Bavarian Ordinance on Protective Measures Against Infectious Diseases.

However, on U.S. installations the combination of access controls, testing and tracing capabilities, and widespread vaccine availability have reduced risk. As such, we have authorized small social gatherings for community members.

The Bavarian ordinance applies to our community members when they travel or live off-post. However, the ordinance applies at ALL TIMES to our host-nation neighbors, whether they are on or off U.S. installations. It is important community members keep this distinction in mind when hosting or participating in on-post social gatherings potentially involving non-ID Cardholders. Hosting or participating in social gatherings on-post in excess of the Bavarian restrictions with host-nation individuals violates host-nation law and may subject violators to civil penalties.

Additionally, many people mistakenly believe Netzaberg housing is "on post." Netzaberg is off-post and as such, social gatherings in Netzaberg are subject to host-nation social gathering restrictions, as are all other housing areas off our installations.

No. While “social gatherings” are restricted, we have long recognized that certain morale and unit cohesion events are an integral part of our military tradition and play important roles in maintaining espirit d’ corps and networks of mutual support. These things are so essential to Army life, especially overseas. 

Therefore, these kinds of events are authorized, provided the unit follows established Garrison processes. The events are developed with COVID protections in mind, and the concepts are reviewed by our Garrison Risk Mitigation Council, including Public Health experts.

Here in Bavaria, social gatherings remain severely restricted.

On U.S. installations, where the combination of access controls, testing and tracing capabilities, and widespread vaccine availability has reduced risk, we have authorized small social gatherings. These limits are in excess of what is allowed by Bavaria off post, and it is important that you be conscious of that fact. 

Annex A will be periodically modified to clearly explain the gathering limits on post, and the latest version can always be found at www.7ATC.army.mil/COVID-19.

Many people mistakenly believe that Netzaberg housing is “on post.” It is not! In all housing areas outside the gates of our installations, Host Nation restrictions on social gatherings continue to apply.

Generally speaking, as the weather continues to improve, we continue to recommend you spend as much time as possible outside. This includes at authorized social gatherings on our installations. The risk of infection is dramatically reduced when we are outside, but you’re still required to maintain social distance, wear masks in accordance with host nation and 7ATC policies, and practice additional hygiene measures.

Depending on the country, unvaccinated children may still be required to quarantine. It is imperative that travelers educate themselves about these rules and plan for them. 

For example, if you plan a trip to France this summer with two unvaccinated children, you may need a child-care plan for their quarantine period after you return. Commanders are authorized to consider this as a factor when deciding to approve leave. If a Soldier is needed at the workplace immediately following travel, leave may be denied if there is no satisfactory child-care plan during that period.

For these reasons, leisure travel with unvaccinated children outside of Germany may be easier during the summer break, when school is out.

Germany's post travel ROM when coming from high-risk countries ends automatically at day 5 for children under 6. This changes often, so reference the latest official country sites: www.pei.de/impfstoffe/covid-19.

Travel, services, quarantine and isolation may all have different rules on the types of tests and the applicable time period it must be taken in. Three options:
PCR test
Rapid antigen test
Self-test. The problem with the self-test is, however, that you have no proof that the test is less than 24-hours old. Most sources recommend to bring the self-test to the store and do it right then and there to avoid any issues with the acceptance of the test result, since these tests have no way to personalize the result or even date it.

Best recommendation is to make use of official test centers to receive a personalized and dated test result.

Rules are going to vary from country to country. There are several considerations for planning travel.

Ensure you make reservations that can be cancelled at no cost (or a minimal, acceptable cost). Things could change in either your destination country or here in Bavaria, and you should be prepared to alter your plans. Travel insurance is also highly recommended, and can generally be obtained through your credit card, airline, or travel agency. It may add a bit to the cost, but will be worth it if the worst happens.

Second, make a plan for a worst-case scenario. If you fly to an island destination, and one of your dependents tests positive for COVID-19 before your return flight, you may be stuck there. You should ensure you have enough money (and leave available) to cover such an unanticipated event. For the time being, ground-based travel (POV or train) is likely going to be easier than flying.

Third, even if you are vaccinated, we recommend you and all dependents traveling with you obtain negative test results within 24-48 hours of your departure. If possible, you should do the same prior to your return. Here in Bavaria, you can generally get a free negative test on the economy You can also generally get tests at airports, though you may have to pay. Military Treatment Facilities on installations in Bavaria are not currently offering testing for leisure travel.

For the foreseeable future, our mask policy and social distancing rules will not change. Although vaccines are now widely available to our community, the risk of infection remains. And it only takes one large outbreak of COVID to put all our progress at risk!  We have come too far to fail now. Please continue to wear your masks, wash your hands, and maintain appropriate safe distances from those outside your household.  By complying with these measures for a little longer, we play our part in slowly beating this pandemic. The current 7ATC mask policy can be found at www.7ATC.army.mil/COVID-19.

7ATC COVID-19 Mitigation Goals
  • Remain ready to fight
  • Protect our current levels of services at our installations