RAF Akrotiri News

COVID-19 Latest Information 05 August

New direction has been published regarding the COVID-19 Exit Plan. This incorporates recent changes by the ROC. Travel Information will be updated if and when there are any new changes.

The overriding advice remains around social distancing, personal hygiene and face coverings, if in doubt (and where no specific guidance exists) err on the side of caution and stick with the strictest of measures.

*****Update 08 Aug 20*****

Special measures in Limassol district until 21 Aug (subject to change)

Fines - repeat offenders liable for up to €3000 and/or 6 months imprisonment - SBA Pol

Masks - imposed until further notice (subject to change)

All gatherings limited to 10 pax unless worshipping at a place of worship, attending a ceremony such as a wedding, christening or funeral, or in a restaurant/mess.

Restriction on gatherings in max of 10 pers - impact on schools, playgrounds, children’s facilities/settings/clubs, gyms, swimming pools, encroachments, sporting activities. See individual Facebook pages or signage for rules in specific places.

No gatherings of over 10 pers, even in separate groups or on separate tables, with the exception of those outlined above

Children are included in the 10 pers limit

Customers do not need to wear facemasks in cafes/restaurants or messes, regardless of whether inside or outside (however staff do)

All clubs/societies/events can continue provided it is only for max 10 pers at a time and people can maintain social distancing - if in doubt, do not hold event

Military activity will continue

Gatherings. In sum, all gatherings, whether inside or outside, are limited to 10 pers with the exception of worshipping at a place of worship (75), attending a ceremony such as a wedding, christening or funeral (75), or  when in a restaurant/mess (inside dining, max of 75 pers; outside dining, max of 150 pers). Table max still 10 pers, social distancing applies throughout.

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Facemask use by the general population - Facemasks in this case are defined as Face Coverings (i.e. a scarf would do). Facemasks are to be worn (persons 6yrs old and over) in closed buildings, as follows:

 i.            Supermarkets/bakeries.

ii.            Department stores/ retail shops/ malls. This includes the Forces Stores, for example, but not an office environment (unless the office is public facing).

iii.            Churches.

iv.            Visitors at Hospitals/ clinics/ old people’s homes/ other healthcare establishments. All patients reporting to the Med Centre and Dental Centre facilities are to wear a mask.

v.            Pharmacies.

vi.            Services/ departments of the public sector and wider public sector and private businesses accepting/ serving the public (e.g. banks, Citizen Service Centres, Post Offices, EAC, etc.).

vii.            Betting Shops.

viii.            Lifts.

ix.            Libraries.

x.            Airport Terminals.

 

a.                  Facemask use by customer-facing personnel. It is mandatory for customer facing employees to wear facemasks, as follows:

 

 i.               Means of Public Transport (e.g. MT drivers).

ii.               Indoor areas of private businesses, departments of the public and wider public sector serving the public, such as Post Officers, Couriers, Cash Desks etc.

iii.               Individuals working at customer service in retail, e.g. Cashiers at supermarkets, bakeries, pharmacies, markets, retail shops.

iv.               Customer service in the food-supply chain, e.g. butchers, fish markets, fruit markets, kiosks, mini markets, retail shops (e.g. clothing stores, shoe stores, cosmetics stores, etc.), etc.

v.               Delivery people.

vi.               Workers in construction sites/ constructions: Individuals working in constructions must use single-use masks when moving in a car (the number of people in the car must not exceed 2),

vii.               When using lifts.

 

b.                  Special measures for Limassol District: Gatherings of up to 10 people (regardless of age) – these apply to the WSBA as well, the SBA Ordinance does not mandate this in the ESBA:

 

 i.               No person may be present in a place of residence in which more than 10 individuals (including the person in question) are simultaneously present.

ii.               No person may gather in a group of more than 10 people (including the person in question) in any place, except for the following places.

1)             A ceremony such as a wedding, funeral or christening.

2)             An act of worship at a place of religious worship.

3)             A restaurant or other catering premises where food or drink is supplied for consumption on the premises.

 

c.                  Special measures for Limassol District: Gatherings of up to 75 people (regardless of age) – these apply to the WSBA as well:

 

 i.               The person in control of a place of religious worship may permit no more than 75 persons to be simultaneously present on the premises.

ii.               A person may organise or permit a ceremony such as a wedding, funeral or christening to take place only if that person ensures that no more than 75 persons are simultaneously present.

iii.               Regarding dining premises; the maximum number of people who may be served inside dining premises is fixed at 75 persons.

iv.               The measure for maintaining a distance of 3 square metres for indoor premises per person continues to apply.

 

d.                  Special measures for Limassol District: Gatherings of up to 150 people (regardless of age) – these apply to the WSBA as well:

 

 i.               Regarding dining premises; the maximum number of people who may be served outside dining premises is fixed at 150 persons.

 

ii.               The measure for maintaining a distance of 2 square metres for outdoor premises per person continues to apply.

 

iii.               CyPol have enforced the new measures from 0001hrs 1 Aug. Fines for non-compliance are up to €300.

 

iv.               There will be more enforcement/police checks including at restaurants and shops.

 

v.               New measures to be imposed until 15 Sep (special measures for Limassol until 21 Aug).

 

vi.               Limassol District is taken to mean the whole District; this includes Pissouri, Troodos, Governors Beach.

 

Local Transport
 

a.                  Buses: With immediate effect all passenger transport with a fare per passenger in Limassol District will carry a number of passengers equal to 50% of the capacity of vehicles as a maximum. This measure applies solely to urban routes of Limassol District. It does not apply to the rest of Limassol District. Any MT runs to/from Limassol New Port using busses/ minibuses must adhere to the 50% capacity rule.

 

b.                  Taxis. The number of people, including the driver during taxi journeys in Limassol urban area shall not exceed three. This measure does not apply to the rest of Limassol District. Any MT runs into Limassol urban areas must adhere to the 3-person rule.

 

 i.               Travel within the SBAs including within Stns or through the RoC in MOD-owned transport: all passengers and drivers must wear a facemask or face coverings, when travelling in buses, minibuses and split cabs.

  ii.             Travel in any contracted transport: passengers are to wear a facemask or face covering for the duration of any journey, this includes children traveling to school.

 

c.     Personnel are to wear face coverings when travelling as a passenger on Military Air Transport operated by Defence from 15 Jun 20. Face coverings should be worn unless there are strong operational reasons not to do so which must be authorised at 2* level. Children under the age of 3 should not wear face coverings, children between the ages of 3 and 11 can wear face coverings, but they are not required to.

 

 

******Older Information below - where there is no up to date guidance for a specific issue/requirement you may have, please refer to the information below for guidance.******

What are the latest restrictions? 

  • Home gatherings are now permitted, 150 people can now gather in an outdoor space and up to 75 indoors.
  • Private vehicles can now carry more than three people at any time, including people from more than one family.

What are the rules on moving around on-base?

  • Groups of up to 10 people, including children, can now exercise together.
  • A minimum of two metres distance between yourself and other people must be adhered to at all times.
  • You should carry your usual ID while on base.
  • The Dog Park is limited to a maximum of ten people (including children) and their dogs. If you arrive at the dog park and there are already ten people using it, then please wait until there is space to use it without the limit of ten people being exceeded. Please minimise the amount of time spent in the dog park and be courteous to others waiting to use the facility.

COVID-19 exercise update (15 May)

In addition to general exercise, the following sports are permitted, but use of changing facilities is prohibited:

(a) tennis;

(b) golf;

(c) horse riding;

(d) shooting;

(e) archery;

(f) underwater sports;

(g) rock climbing or bouldering;

(h) wind sports;

(i) motorsports provided no more than one person is present in the vehicle;

(j) sailing, canoeing and kayaking, provided no more than one person is present on the sports equipment.

When will the Station Gym re-open?

The Station Gym is now open to all 24 hours a day. 

Room number limitations are as follows: 

CV suite- 16 people, Rehab Suite- 6 people, Weights Bay- 6 people, Gym Hall- 20 people.

When is the Swimming Pool open? 

The Swimming Pool has now re-opened

Swimming lessons advertised will be for the swimmers that do NOT need support in the water as all teachers must now teach from poolside. All those unable to have lessons at this time will be catered for over the Summer holidays, how we do this is still under discussion. All names of children swimming next week will be published on the Akrotiri Swimming Lesson FB site.

Happy Snappers baby swims and Junior Lanes must be booked due to limited numbers. Please call 99966048 for a slot.
The baby swims are as follows:
Monday 1000 - 1030 0-12mnths
Monday 1045 – 1115 13-24mnths
Wednesday 1030 – 1100 2-3yrs
Wednesday 1115- 1145 Mixed class for all ages 0-3yrs

Aquajog will commence as soon as possible.


For any queries please email akiswimmingpool@gmail.com and for all bookings please call Julie on the number above.

 

Are the Station’s playparks, skatepark and basketball court open?

Yes, all of the Station’s playparks, the skatepark and basketball court are now open. When using these facilities, social distancing still applies and each facility is limited to a maximum of 10 children (not including supervising adults). If a particular park already has 10 children in it when you arrive, then please wait until someone leaves or return later. For those using the park, please be courteous to other users and do not spend extended periods of time in a single park. The Station’s cleaning contract does not extend to regular cleaning of the playparks; therefore, if you are concerned about the cleanliness of playpark apparatus then it is recommended that you wipe it down prior to use. Any disinfectant wipes or similar will need to be provided by the user.

When should I go into self-isolation?

You and your family should go into self-isolation if:

  • You or a member of your family develops symptoms. (Ensure you immediately consult the Medical Centre.)
  • You or a member of your family has returned to Cyprus from abroad.

If you need to self-isolate, please call the Medical Centre on +357 2527 6553 immediately for further guidance.

Info for those who are in isolation (SFA)

Info for those who are in isolation (SLA)

How have postings been affected?

  • All postings in the RAF and the Army have been paused until 1 July 20. 
  • If your posting at RAF Akrotiri has now been extended and you require an extension to your status stamp, please contact the SBAA Fiscal Office through their enquiry form available here.
  • There will be no automatic extension to tour lengths for those scheduled to move after summer 2020. Any tour extension requests should be submitted through your chain of command.
  • Those travelling back to the UK will now be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. More information can be found here

Can I travel overseas for leave?

Please see the below flowchart which outlines how BFC military personnel, UKBCs and dependents can travel from and return to the Republic of Cyprus. For more information on exit and re-entry requirements in the Republic of Cyprus, including the flight pass system, country categories, and FCO travel advice , please access the following links:

RoC Flight Pass and county categories 
FCO Travel advice 
 

It is acknowledged that civilian flights to/from the Republic of Cyprus to a number of countries including Greece will commence on 9 Jun 20 and that BFC relaxation of measures has largely aligned with those introduced by the Cypriot Government. However, on this occasion HQ BFC’s decision has been made in accordance with advice from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) which is applicable to all British nationals irrelevant of current location. Travel to countries where the FCO advises British nationals against will invalidate travel/health insurance and limit UK diplomatic support. Also, personnel are not entitled to MoD healthcare (including aeromedical evacuation) whilst on leave. Therefore, if BFC personnel were to travel to those countries now permitted by the Republic of Cyprus then there would be very limited support in the event of them getting into difficulties. In addition, even though travel to certain countries is allowed, both the Republic of Cyprus and receiving nation require personnel to be tested for COVID-19 upon entry and remain in a Government facility for at least 24hrs whilst their test samples are processed. 

Booking Flights with civilian airlines

Flights are booked at your own risk should the category of a country change or if the UK's upgrade to Cat B is delayed.

Can I have family and friends to visit? 

Personnel are now permitted to have guests from category A/B countries onto base (please note that the UK is still category C, this may change on the 1 Aug but is subject to constant review).

Those wishing to visit the station will be required to provide a evidence of their arrival from a Cat A country in the form of a ticket or if travelling from a Cat B country a negative test result (valid within 72 hours of the time of flight).

What about the health of our visitors?

It's important that the BFC/ SBAA community are not only aware of what medical care is available to us but we should also be aware of what and what isn't available to our guests.

We are very lucky as those of us that are entitled have the comfort of medical and dental centres on our doorstep, these facilities are not available to visitors and guests.

Seeing a Doctor

If guests do need to see a doctor or dentist for any reason you would need to source a local provider, your guests will be charged for this service. All hospitals in Cyprus charge for treatment to people not entitled to use the Cyprus National Health Scheme. 

Hospital Care 

If guests require urgent or emergency treatment in one of the state hospitals within Cyprus they will be charged, the bills can be quite significant.

Where emergency care such as fractures, Road traffic accidents, or heart attack is needed in the SBA our teams will respond and transfer to the appropriate hospital. Where we know that visitors have private insurance cover that helps us to know where is the right place to access ongoing care.

Travel and Health Insurance

Your guests really should consider travel and or medical insurance to ensure they are covered for such eventualities.Without it they may face a bill for thousands of Euros?at a time when they have enough to worry about.

EHIC Card 

We also recommend that everyone carries a European health insurance card, these cards are free and can be sourced through an official .GOV website and cover you for many eventualities.? EHIC cards are something we insist all those posted to Cyprus must have as well. If you are posted here and do not have your EHIC Card to hand please address this today.

It is worth noting that EHIC cards are not valid in the Northern part of Cyprus, if any of us, as well as our guests, are traveling to the north of Cyprus, you should seriously consider health insurance or a travel insurance that covers health issues.

Bottom line 

We have a responsibility to ourselves and those we host on island. The support BFC personnel and their families get is not the same for visitors.

Health care in Cyprus costs money and no one can predict when they might need treatment. Check that you are covered in both parts of the island by private Health insurance or in the South your EHIC card and make sure your visitors do the same. This is not a part of anyone’s visit they should take a risk on, so please don’t let them.? 

Is the Forces Store still open?

  • The Forces Store is open. Opening times have now returned to normal:

Forces Store

Mon-Sat: 0800-1900
Sun: 0900-1500

Forces Store Express

Mon-Sun 1000-2230

  • Handwashing facilities have been put in place at the entrance to the store, please use them!
  • There will be occasions where you have to take your children to Forces Store; however, we ask you to please avoid bringing them where possible as it is important to minimise footfall.

I own a small business. How have I been affected?

Small businesses are now permitted to trade. New business applications will now be processed as normal.

Please direct any queries to the SBAA Fiscal Office through their enquiry form available here. You can check their Facebook page for the latest guidance they have published.

Guidance on financial support 

If you are to qualify for Cypriot business relief then you need to have been paying Social Insurance into the Republic of Cyprus. If you are not paying Social Insurance you do not qualify for relief from the Republic of Cyprus. 

If you are self employed and you are working remotely for businesses in the UK and are therefore paying UK tax and National Insurance then you may be entitled to the self employment relief that the Chancellor has announced. The guidance given is that you should not be contacting HMRC directly. They are working through all their employment records and if you are entitled then you should receive the payment in June. 

Is the Recycling Centre open?

The Station Recycling Centre has re-opened with the following hours:

1000-1500 Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri
0900-1300 Sat

How are you maintaining Mental Wellbeing, especially for those in Single Living Accommodation?

A lot of money has been spent putting televisions, BFBS and WiFi in to all isolation blocks. Those isolated for transit reasons (non-symptomatic) have segregated areas where they can go outside. There are also common rooms, which can be used as long as social distancing is maintained.

Mental health resources

Headspace-  Do you want to try meditation? 10 minutes per day for 10 days is a good way to start.

Get self-help- A great open source tool for managing worry amongst other top tips.

The Big White Wall- An interactive (Free for serving AFP) online resource that offers courses, e-learning and clinician monitored chat rooms to support and be supported by others in times of hardship.

Mood Gym- From our friends 'down under' - whilst they are not throwing shrimps on the BBQ they are improving our mental health with this CBT based online tool.

The Samaritans– The Mental Health Team have worked with these guys in various areas of defence for many years. Although we are here for you 24 hrs a day alongside your unit welfare, sometimes you might need a little bit more. If that's the case, please reach out to someone - these guys are great at helping people stay safe and get better.

BFBS PressReader access

BFBS and its partner PressReader are working together to provide additional welfare support to our audiences during the current situation. You now have access to 60 days of free digital newspapers and magazines from PressReader’s catalogue of over 7000 titles.

Here are three simple steps on how to access this service.

Can I still receive mail?

Post is continuing to arrive as normal. This is then disseminated via Squadron and line managers will distribute to personnel.

Is childcare being provided?

  • We have set up childcare for the children of essential workers which will be run in the Early Years Centre. If this applies to you then you will be contacted.
  • During this uncertain period, your chain of command will work to be as flexible as is possible in ensuring your childcare needs are met around your work commitments.
  • Domestic Assistants are permitted to work in SFA, but must adhere to strict personal hygiene protocols and social distancing measures to be applied.
  • A number of children have returned to school already either on a permanent or rotational basis. Plans for when additional year groups will return will be disseminated by Head Teachers
  • Click here to read a letter containing some helpful info from the BFC Youth & Community workers.

Will repairs to accommodation continue as normal?

At present, contractors will still attend to carry out essential repairs in both single living and married accommodation. The exception for this is that if people within the household are in isolation, contractors will not attend. The list of houses in isolation is passed onto DIO and is updated daily.

Is the 'pool man' allowed on to the Station?

The ‘Pool Man’ has now been given dispensation to trade again, so he is now able to fill up temporary swimming pools within the WSBA.

Mr Andreas Polycarpou can be contacted on 99347741 or 25390842. Please note, this is now the only way of filling pools up, the use of other means including hose pipes are strictly prohibited and contravene BFC Orders.

The 'Pool Man' will issue an official receipt which must be taken to the Housing Office and placed on record.

If you have any more questions about filling your pool please contact the Housing Office. 

Who can use my private pool?

Garden pools can be used by children and adults from other households, as well as those from your own.

Am I able to bring my pet to/from the UK?

British (Forces) Animal Rehoming Centre (BARC) have access to flights that can transport pets to and from the UK. If anyone requires pets transporting, they should contact barc_export@cytanet.com.cy.

I have volunteered to help. Will I be paid?

Those who have volunteered and are working to help with efforts on Station will be placed on to a zero-hours contract and will be paid for the work they complete. Those who are being paid have been contacted.

Can I carry this year's Get You Home (Overseas) flight over to next year?

Where possible Get You Home (Overseas) travel warrants should be used within their one year validity period. However, where this has not been possible or personnel anticipate that they will not be able to use their warrant because of COVID-19 travel restrictions, then they should apply to carry over their warrant into the next year. This will result, where eligible, in personnel being able to use two warrants next year. Applications to carry forward a travel warrant should be made to PSF who will coordinate and present to the Commanding Officer.

 

We are working hard on keeping you up-to-date with the latest information. Please keep checking here and on the RAF Akrotiri Community Support Facebook page for further information. If you can't find what you're looking for please email with any questions that you have to BFC-AKI-COVID-19info@mod.gov.uk.

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