• EM Power

Belgium moving cautiously towards new normal

The federal and state governments of Belgium discussed the corona situation today in the Overlegcomité / le Comité de concertation. It was decided that hairdressers can reopen under very strict conditions from 13 February, and outdoor activities in zoos are also allowed from then on.

"Today, the coronas situation in our country presents a mixed picture. The number of infections has been stable since December. The number of hospital admissions and deaths has fallen slightly. In the meantime, it remains necessary to prevent the further spread of infectious virus variants. That is why extreme caution is still called for."

However, the Overlegcomité / le Comité de concertation also recognises that personal care makes an undeniable contribution to better social and mental wellbeing. That is why there will be a phased reopening of non-medical contact professions. Hairdressers can resume their activities from Saturday 13 February. Other non-medical contact professions, such as beauty, massage and nail salons, can resume their activities from 1 March.

The reopening of the non-medical contact professions is linked to very strict conditions and tightened protocols. These include:

  • waiting time of 10 minutes between two treatments, sufficient for cleaning and disinfection of the treatment area;

  • obligation to work by appointment;

  • clients must wait outside;

  • providing sufficient ventilation, e.g. opening windows and doors;

  • service at home remains prohibited.

As of 13 February, zoos are allowed to open according to the same rules as nature parks. This means, among other things, that only outdoor activities are allowed and there is strict access control.

The Overlegcomité / le Comité de concertation also took note of the Raad van State's ruling of 2 February regarding holiday homes in holiday parks, bungalow parks and camp sites. In accordance with the judgment, they will be allowed to reopen their activities from 8 February under the same restrictive conditions as other forms of accommodation. This means, among other things, that they will have to keep their restaurants, bars and other communal facilities closed.

The Overlegcomité / le Comité de concertation confirmed its earlier decision to allow home visits by professional estate agents in the context of real estate activities as of 13 February.

The Overlegcomité / le Comité de concertation confirms that the current restrictions can be phased out as soon as the epidemiological situation improves structurally. The increase in the number of vaccinated residents, especially vulnerable groups, will have a positive effect on this. The COVID-19 Commission and the GEMS were asked to draw up a timeline together with the competent ministers and sectors.

The next Overlegcomité / le Comité de concertation is scheduled for Friday, 26 February 2021.

Photo: Eerste Minister / Premier ministre Alexander de Croo 05-02-2021