Sasebo MWR reopens for business

Sasebo MWR reopens for business

by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jasmine Ikusebiala
U.S. Navy

SASEBO, Japan (June 16, 2020) – As U.S Forces Japan shifts to Health Protection Condition (HPCON) Bravo, a response to the successful performance of naval facilities in Japan amidst the COVID-19 environment, Commander, Fleet Activities Sasebo Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) facilities transitioned as well.

Limited CFAS MWR facilities made preparations to reopen onboard CFAS June 16, 2020.

“Off base, things are still restrictive, but on base there's a little bit more of a sense that things are getting back to what they used to be. We're just hoping that this will allow people to work off some of the stress of being at home, teleworking and kind of getting out of the day to day routine that they may have had before.” said Scott Poluhowich, the CFAS MWR director. “We’re going to hopefully open as many of the facilities and get as many of our programs back to the normal services that we provide.”

HPCONs are protocols by the Department of Defense for public health emergencies based on risk levels within a community and in cooperation with local, state or host nation guidance. 0, Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and Delta make up the levels which vary from no community transmission at HPCON 0 to severe widespread community transmission at HPCON Delta. HPCON Bravo is listed as a moderate condition with increased community transmission which limits physical contact and places travel limitations on personnel.

CFAS directed HPCON Charlie March 26, 2020 following a U.S. Forces Japan directive which resulted in the rapid closure of MWR facilities.

MWR facilities on the base such as the Harbor View Club (HVC), food court, Fleet Fitness Center and library have resumed offering their services onboard CFAS. In accordance with the HPCON update, facilities will continue to enforce physical distancing, the use of face coverings, hand washing hygiene and other COVID-19 prevention methods to encourage safe and sanitary conditions.

“We’re slowly reintegrating the public into the facilities so that some of our tables are only seating for one and we have a few select tables that are for families so that they have the opportunity to come in and sit down.” said Kate Enos, the manager at CFAS’s HVC.

As facilities like the HVC reopen, some of the restrictions implemented will continue to work under capacity limitations and physical distancing enforcement. The CFAS Public Health Order (PHO) states that restaurants on base can allow seated dining but have limited seating capacity, between 30 and 40 percent, and limits only families to sit together, dry cleaning and the wrapping store are open but limit capacity to two people inside at a time and the library is reopened for six patrons at a time with limited seating at computers. Other activities included in the PHO state that indoor church services will resume with a 30 percent seating capacity, also only allowing families to sit together, and that the Fleet Fitness Center will operate on limited and scheduled hours to prioritize active duty personnel and cleaning hours.

MWR will continue implementing its preventative measures against COVID-19 while continuing to strive towards their mission of contributing to the mental, physical and emotional well-being of military personnel and to the welfare of their families.

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