Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Marines, Sailors, Families, and Civilians,
I wanted to take a moment to provide you an update on our efforts to combat against the spread of COVID-19, as well as some changes to circumstances that have, or are likely to occur, and will impact all of us directly.
1. Based upon the results of 15 of 60 samples that USAG Stuttgart has sent to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and 2 local tests, we now have 5 positive cases of C-19 within our Military Community. Two are in EUCOM, and one in AFRICOM. As of 1430 16 Mar 2020, 1,105 positive cases in Baden-Wurttemberg and 3 deaths. The MARFOREUR/AF case I mentioned in my previous email came back negative. The Marine will continue to remain quarantined and in observation for the full 14 day period as a matter of precaution.
2. Many of you have no doubt heard about the order to “shelter in place” for USAG’s in the Bavaria region of Germany. We have not been directed to “shelter in place”. Should that occur we will pass along guidance immediately. Further USAG Stuttgart information and guidance can be found here: https://home.army.mil/stuttgart/index.php/Directorates-Support/public-affairs/coronavirus-covid-19
3. The following information is provided to help put at ease the concern that the commissary is going to run out of food. DECA Europe has two container distribution and storage sites (CDC) and one central meat processing plant (CMPP). As of 17 Mar 2020, CDC Germersheim reports 9,034 items on-hand with 92% stock availability and 30-45 days of supply; CDC Kaiserslautern reports 1,530 items on-hand with 90% stock availability and 30-45 days of supply; the CMPP reports 99% stock availability and 21-28 days of supplies. From 17 Mar – 17 Apr, all CDCs have planned deliveries from CONUS based sites as well as store deliveries to all commissaries throughout Europe. All stores in Europe have increased their daily resupply order to compensate for the increased shopping. Additionally, the CMPP has increased production to keep up with demand.
4. I also want to ensure that you are aware of the actions the German government is taking in support of efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Overall, the measures add up to a comprehensive lockdown of German social life, including closing of most business and venues of leisure activities, other than supermarkets, pharmacies, and a few basic services. While stopping short of a general curfew, the regulations are designed to limit social interaction in the public space to an absolute minimum.
Specifically at 1800 on Monday 16 March 2020, Chancellor Merkel announced the directed closure of businesses and activities with the following exceptions: food retail outlets, weekly markets, pick-up and delivery services, beverage stores, pharmacies, medical supply stores, drugstores, petrol stations, banks and savings banks, post offices, hairdressers, dry cleaners, laundries, newspaper sales, hardware, gardening, and pet supplies stores and wholesale. Restaurants and catering establishments will be open 0600 to 1800.
5. Guidance to our outliers: At a minimum, you are required to follow the rules and regulations that have been provided in my two previous emails. If you have not received those emails, contact the command center to have them sent to you (email@example.com). Additionally, you will conform to the Health Protection Conditions and regulations levied by the country in which you reside. In the absence of specific guidance from me or your host nation, you will contact the command center.
6. Any leave that has been previously approved outside of the local area is now cancelled. Leave outside of the local area will be considered on a case by case basis.
7. To our allocated and rotational forces: We are aggressively working with Headquarters Marine Corps to establish a plan to execute redeployment of our Marines and Sailors. There is no definitive timeline as to when you should expect to return home at this time; we are actively working this problem and will provide you updates as quickly as we receive them.
Thank you and Semper Fidelis,
MajGen Patrick J. Hermesmann, USMC
Commander, U.S. Marine Forces Europe/Africa