• By Pacific Island Times Nes Staff

NEX Guam sees rise in Covid-19 cases


Navy Exchange Guam has seen a rise in Covid-19 positive cases, similar to the community and on base, over the course of the last few weeks. “The Navy Exchange Guam employs more than 750 people, including vendors, and the spike in cases is reflective of the rise in numbers impacting our entire island community,” said NEX general manager Lisa Ballejo. “From the very beginning, we have put forth every effort into ensuring that while employees are at work and customers are in the store, strict Covid-19 measures are followed. As Covid-19 continues to impact the island community, our NEX Guam family has unfortunately been impacted, as well.”

In the last week of August, NEEX Guam reported seven employees who have tested positive for Covid-19.

The NEX Guam management it continues to take proactive health protective measures to ensure the safety of its employees and customers.

NEX Guam has conducted thorough contact tracing including assessing employee work schedules, reviewing security camera footage, and interviewing employees. NEX customers have not been identified as close contacts to the positive cases. A close contact is an individual who has come in face-to-face contact with a confirmed Covid-positive individual for at least 10 minutes or more and within six feet, or who has had direct contact with infectious secretions of the confirmed Covid-positive individual (e.g. being coughed on). Employees that have tested positive must be re-tested with negative results to return to work. Areas of the NEX have also been identified for cleaning and disinfecting and will be off limits to personnel until those processes are complete. “NEX Guam has always taken great pride in their clean and well-run stores, and we know this is more important than ever right now. On top of their daily cleaning procedures, they have added on hours to make their routines even more rigorous. This means more time is being spent cleaning their stores,” said U.S. Naval Base Guam (NBG) Acting Commanding Officer Capt. Hans Sholley. “I am proud of the way NEX Guam team has risen through these challenges with flexibility, resilience, and courage and continued care for the patrons who come through their doors each day.” Last week, hours of operation for the NEX Main Store and the NEX II Home Center were modified until further notice to allow staff additional time each day to disinfect, deep clean, and restock store shelves to ensure the health and safety of all customers. The NEX Main Store and NEX II Home Center are open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. All other NEX store hours remain the same and hours of operation are posted on the NBG Facebook page. NBG is currently in Health Protection Condition Charlie (HPCON C). NBG personnel and patrons are strongly urged to follow all mitigation measures and current mandates set forth as part of an aggressive campaign to prevent the community spread of Covid-19. In recent months, NEX stores have increased the frequency of cleaning and the deployment of antibacterial hand sanitizers. Additionally, the NEX has implemented mandatory pre-screening measures to include hand-washing stations and several wellness questions, prior to entering the store. As part of HPCON C measures, NEX has also closed off non-essential areas in the store to include the beauty and barber shop, fine jewelry, flower shop, and fitting rooms. At this time, base access for all authorized patrons has not changed. All valid ID card holders including, retirees and their dependents, and Veteran Health Identification Card holders are able to access NBG installations every day of the week.

NBG, in consultation with public health authorities, will continue to evaluate and make changes to NBG policies, as required, to ensure a proper balance between public health and mission readiness. '

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NEX Guam's policies and procedures: * If you are Sick - Stay Home! Patrons who are experiencing flu-like symptoms will not be permitted access to NBG Installations or NEX and Orote Commissary facilities. These patrons should stay at home or otherwise isolate themselves and telephonically contact appropriate medical authority. * The use of face coverings is mandatory when entering NBG installations and all on-base facilities to include the NEX and Orote Commissary. Those who are NOT wearing a face covering will NOT be allowed entry into any NBG facilities. * While inside NEX, Orote Commissary and NBG facilities, and while waiting to enter these facilities, all patrons must adhere to strict social distancing practices and remain no less than six feet away from all other persons to the greatest extent possible. * The parking lot for the Orote Commissary will only be open when the store opens. Patrons are advised to abide by all posted traffic signs and markings. Patrons are advised to NOT move or drive around traffic cones and barriers. Patrons shall NOT enter the parking lot until Security opens it. * The number of personnel shopping per family should be minimized to the maximum extent possible. Wherever feasible, it is strongly recommended that children should not accompany shoppers. If children do accompany shoppers, parents must ensure children maximize social distancing and prevent unnecessary interactions with other patrons. * To preserve inventory of critical public health supplies, the Commissary and NEX may limit the purchase of certain high-demand items for patrons. * To ensure equitable distribution of commercial products, NEX and Commissary will continue to limit patrons to one (1) shopping cart per family. Additionally, patrons are prohibited from making purchases which are excessive or unreasonably disproportionate in volume. Excessive purchasing of all products will be monitored and enforced. There will be no restock of cleaning/sanitation supplies during the day. * Social Gatherings Limits: Outdoor social gatherings onboard NBG are authorized. However, outdoor social gatherings must adhere to social distancing and cloth face covering protocols, and must NOT exceed ten (10) persons. Indoor social gatherings onboard NBG, for those who do not share the same residence or dwelling unit, are prohibited. * Prohibition on Organized Sports: Organized competitions, team sports, tournaments, and leagues are not authorized, indoor or outdoor, onboard NBG.

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