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As you all know, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to spread domestically and internationally, with sustained transmissions in China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran, and confirmed cases worldwide.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains a list of all locations that have reported COVID-19 cases:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/locations-confirmed-cases.html.  Due to the rapidly evolving situation and out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our Federal and contractor workforce, the following guidance is effective immediately:

  • “Do Not Travel” areas/countries:  No Department-funded travel is authorized for personnel traveling to areas or countries with a Department of State (DOS) Travel Advisory Level 4 where the basis for the DOS advisory is driven by COVID-19 impacts.  The list of countries currently include China and Iran.  Employees should monitor DOS Travel Advisories for COVID-19 related changes.  The areas currently include the Lombardy and Veneto regions of Italy and Daegu region of the South Korea.
  • “Level 3” areas/countries:  No Department-funded travel is authorized for personnel traveling or connecting to areas or countries with a DOS Travel Advisory Level 3 where the basis for the DOS advisory is driven by COVID-19 impacts without the prior approval of Heads of Departmental Elements.  For travel by Heads of Departmental Elements approval must be obtained from their cognizant Presidential Appointee Senate Confirmed official to whom they report.  The list of level 3 countries for COVID-19 purposes currently include South Korea and Italy.  Employees should monitor DOS Travel Advisories for changes.
  • Non-Mission-Essential International Travel:  All non-essential international travel is hereby suspended until further notice.
  • Mission-Essential International Travel:  Only Heads of Departmental Elements may approve “mission-essential” international travel to countries other than the “Do Not Travel” areas/countries.  In the case of NNSA, the NNSA Administrator will make the determination if international travel should be approved for mission-essential purposes.  Mission-essential travel is defined as travel to conduct activities that support the National Essential Functions, Primary Mission Essential Functions, and Mission Essential Functions as defined in DOE O 150.1A, Continuity Programs.
  • Domestic Travel:  At this time, DOE is not restricting domestic travel.  However, the Office of Personnel Management is recommending that agencies also begin reducing non-essential domestic travel, as appropriate.  We will look at this issue and provide additional guidance as needed.

·        Non-Department-Funded Work (e.g., Strategic Partnership Project activities); guidance to National Laboratories, NNSA Plants, and other Contractors:  Non-DOE funded work should follow the DOE policy and any additional restrictions placed on travel by the other agency, or the entity funding and sponsoring the SPP work.

·        Return from DOS Level 4 Travel Advisory Locations:  Any Federal travelers (Headquarters and Field Office employees) currently returning from or transiting through a DOS Travel Advisory Level 4 area/country, based on COVID-19 impacts, for either official or personal travel, are strongly urged to self-quarantine for 14 days after return to the United States in order to monitor their health.  Department of Defense travelers will follow DoD-issued guidance.  These employees should not report to work until they have contacted their supervisor and worked out leave durations and other arrangements.  Employees should seek medical advice if they get sick with a fever, cough, or have difficulty breathing.  Federal travelers with a telework agreement in place should work with their supervisor on a telework schedule to accommodate the 14-day period.  If the traveler does not have a telework agreement, supervisors should consider granting Weather and Safety Leave (WSL) to facilitate the employee’s self-quarantine.  Any contractor, including Management and Operating (M&O) contractors, whose personnel and/or subcontractors are returning from such travel are asked to coordinate with their respective programmatic Contracting Officer (CO) for guidance prior to returning to work.  Additional guidance for contractors will be issued by the appropriate DOE authorities.

  • Hosting International Travelers in the United States for DOE Business:  Please defer all in-person visits from or meetings with visitors, who reside in or have recently visited DOS Travel Advisory Level 3 or 4 areas/countries, based on COVID-19 impacts, until further notice.
  • Hosting International Conferences/Large Meetings:  Review all large events, workshops, or conferences (i.e., more than 30 people traveling from more than one location) currently planned overseas for the next 60 days.  Cancellation must be cleared and pre-approved by the responsible Head of Departmental Element.
  • Hosting Conferences/Large Meetings within CONUS:  Review all large events, workshops, or conferences (i.e., more than 30 people traveling from more than one location) currently planned for the next 60 days.  Cancellation must be cleared and pre-approved by the responsible Head of Departmental Element.
  • Other Items:

·        The Office of Naval Reactors (NA-30) will follow Department of Defense-issued guidance on foreign travel.

·        DOE personnel who are stationed overseas should follow Department of State Chief of Mission guidance.

·        Federal supervisors are encouraged to take into account individual employee preferences when assigning mission-essential travel, and to seek volunteers, whenever possible, if employees are reluctant to travel.  For contractors and their employees, those decisions are left to the contractors, consistent with the terms of their contracts and in consultation with the program office and the contracting officer.  Per DOE Order O 550.1, Official Travel, individuals can decline travel if there is a concern about their personal safety.

We will continue to monitor the progression of COVID-19 and will provide updated guidance as the situation evolves.  Thank you for your continued support to Department missions.

Questions should be directed to the COVID-19 Task Force for coordination via the 24/7 Consolidated Emergency Operations Center Watch Office: doehqeoc@oem.doe.gov

Below is a list of COVID-19 resources: