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SFS explains COVID-19 base access procedures

Hours expanded for search of commercial vehicles

Airman 1st Class Nicholas Ottoson, 66th Security Forces Squadron entry controller, motions commercial vehicles to a search area at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., Aug. 14. SFS recently expanded the hours of the Commercial Vehicle Search Area to include Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Maki)

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- As Hanscom AFB continues to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, installation access will be limited to essential personnel and necessary deliveries.

“With the increasing spread of the COVID-19 virus, it is important to preserve the security, safety and well-being of personnel at Hanscom Air Force Base,” said Maj. Shane Watts, 66th Security Forces Squadron commander. “That’s why we’ve partnered with the Public Health team to take these measures now. The intent is to limit exposure onto the installation but not create an unnecessary hardship on families or the mission.”

Over the past two weeks, many facilities and services on base have changed or ceased operations. One of the most notable changes is the closure of the Ruiz Gate (formerly Hartwell Gate). The gate closure has established a single point of entry, a measure aimed at aiding disease containment efforts encouraged by Public Health. It also allowed Security Forces to minimize exposure of personnel while still providing essential screening at the visitor center and the commercial vehicle search area. To offset the closure, the Sartain Gate has now become the 24-hour gate.

Additionally, the visitor center is open during normal business hours (pending further restrictions) to continue servicing the needs of the base and public. If the installation implements additional restrictions (see flow chart) to limit exposure, the ability for visitors and deliveries will become increasingly limited/restricted.

When and if Hanscom needs to operate in a more limited posture, personnel manning the Sartain Gate will assume the responsibilities of issuing passes and searching commercial vehicles. The current posture allows for necessary guests (family care plan, caring for sick, etc.), essential commercial vehicles (UPS, Amazon, commissary, etc.) and food deliveries.

Food deliveries are considered food service restaurants that may not typically make door-to-door deliveries. These delivery services include companies such as GrubHub, Door Dash and other similar services. Other common food delivery vendors such as Dominos, Pizza Mia and other restaurants will continue to follow the normal process for base access.

The installation commander’s intent is that every resident and mission partner limit any unnecessary base access during this critical time. The phased approach to ensuring essential guests are being sponsored onto the base includes providing Security Forces with a signed approval letter from an assigned authority level. Sponsoring unit leadership and equivalent will be required to approve sponsorship of short-term guests. If measures increase, the approval level will increase as well. This is to discourage unnecessary sponsorship of short-term (<60 days) guests. Once signed by the appropriate approving official, generally a unit commander or a senior materiel leader, the letter should be presented at the Visitors Center when requesting the pass for your guest.

However, SFS understands that unique circumstances may require a different approach for sponsoring short-term guests and encourages people to reach out to them in those cases that are time sensitive.

To sponsor a non-standard delivery service or with questions on sponsoring a short-term guest, have the sponsor call the visitor center at 781-225-6648 and provide:

DOD ID Number
Date of Birth
Delivery Service
Phone Number

Once the service driver arrives at the gate, a criminal background check will occur and the driver will be issued a pass for the delivery.

Security Forces is determined to help the installation maintain a healthy and safe environment to work and live and asks that, during this time, people please help limit the number of personnel on the installation, prevent additional exposures and report any criminal or threat concerns to the Base Defense Operations Center (BDOC) at 781-225-5000.