Hanscom COVID-19 update

  • Published
  • By Col. Chad Ellsworth
  • 66th Air Base Group Commander

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Thanks to all of you, we have made great strides in limiting the spread of COVID-19 on and around Hanscom Air Force Base. Such significant change to our routines, implemented so quickly, was bound to present challenges. Yet we have overcome those challenges, operated our base, and preserved our critical missions, all while maintaining our collective health and safety – and we’ve done it with great efficiency. In a nutshell, Hanscom never truly closed - we’re just operating differently.

So what comes next? When the time is right – as determined by Hanscom-specific, local and state-wide data – we will begin a slow, carefully phased “return to full capacity.” In the earliest phase, this won’t look a lot different from where we are right now. For instance, everyone who is successfully teleworking right now would continue to do so. Facilities that cannot be operated safely with physical distancing and other safeguards in place will remain closed or operationally limited. At the same time, some members of the workforce who truly need access to the base to perform their jobs, and whom we can allow to return to work safely, will be brought back to their physical work environments. To accommodate this relatively small increase, we would revive impacted base services in equal measure where that could be accomplished safely. Some loosening of restrictions on outdoor recreational facilities would also be considered.

I must emphasize, however, that all of that and any other loosening depends on all of us continuing to do the right things right now – and into the next phase. If we experience unsupportable surges in on-base work, inadequate physical distancing or other protective measures, people gathering in groups at recreational facilities, etc., then tighter restrictions will be reinstated. I must ensure that the health and safety of everyone working, living and recreating on Hanscom AFB remains our top priority. I’m counting on each of you to help.

You may hear announcements about “opening” things up from state or federal officials. I want you to understand that, at Hanscom AFB, we are already open and getting our mission done. I’m working with unit leaders to ensure we do not unnecessarily risk people’s health. To this end, regardless of what you may hear on the news, please do not physically return to the installation unless directed by your unit leadership.

There will be much more to come on all of this. Please continue to check our special COVID-19 webpage – www.Hanscom.af.mil/coronavirus – for updates. And please continue doing exactly what you’re doing for now. Your discipline, patience and commitment to our missions have been remarkable, and through the continuation of those efforts we will emerge from this difficult time together, and stronger than ever.