Belgium: "We must be able to enjoy our freedom responsibly" – plans for reopening
The Belgian federal and state governments today in the Overlegcomité / Comité de concertation gave concrete implementation to earlier decisions. The Comité reconfirms the end of the Easter break on 26 April. This means that from Monday people in groups of 10 may meet outside. Also shopkeepers are allowed to receive customers without an appointment again from Monday. People no longer have to shop alone, but may be accompanied by one other member of the household. Non-medical contact professions - including hairdressers and beauticians - reopen under the tightened protocols.
"The outdoor plan can come into effect from 8 May if vaccination campaign continues in the same way, and there is no reason to believe that this will not be the case."
Belgium's Eerste minister / Premier ministre Alexander De Croo announced this today.
"We start with good news. The vaccination campaign is running at full speed. In the meantime, 72 percent of the over-65s have already received their first vaccine."
By the end of next month, Belgium believes they should see similar vaccination figures for the other risk groups. As of then, four million compatriots will be vaccinated, according to De Croo.
The conditions for opening a terrace are laid down as follows:
Maximum 4 people at one table (or people from the same household).
At least 1.5 metres between the table parties.
Only seats at the table.
Mouth mask obligatory for staff and customers seated at table.
Service at the bar is not allowed.
The customer may occasionally and briefly enter the indoor area to use the sanitary facilities, enter the terrace or pay.
The opening hours are limited from 08:00 to 22:00.
The Comité also confirmed the earlier decisions for the culture and events sector for the month of May. These include major events such as cultural and other performances, competitions and trade fairs.
This means that outdoor activities of up to 50 people will be allowed in the month of May. A series of indoor test events will also be organised.
In the month of June, outdoor activities are possible up to 200 people. For indoor events, a maximum room occupancy of 75% of the CIRM (Covid Infrastructure Risk Model) applies, with a ceiling of 200 persons as well.
Indoor and outdoor events should always take place with mouth masks and at the appropriate social distance. At indoor events people should always be seated.
Youth and club activities
The Consultation Committee reconfirms that from 8 May onwards, activities in an organised context (e.g. sports club or association) with a maximum of 25 people outside will be possible for all ages, but without an audience and without an overnight stay. Children up to and including 12 years of age can participate with a maximum of 10 people.
From 25 June onwards, indoor and outdoor activities are possible in an organised setting for up to 50 people. For youth camps, overnight stays will also be possible from that date. Fairs and non-professional flea markets will also be possible from June onwards.
Importance of vaccination and personal responsibility
The gradual reopening of the economy and the resumption of social life will take place at the pace of the vaccination campaign. Therefore, the Comité calls on everyone to get vaccinated.
"Loosening the rules happens step by step. More freedom also means more individual responsibility. By keeping it safe in the coming days and weeks, we can have a great summer."
As far as the summer months of July and August are concerned: that will be decided by a subsequent Comité.
"We need to have a clear view of what is possible. You can only make a decision before the summer when we have a clearer view of the situation,"
said Prime Minister De Croo.
A new Comité is scheduled for 11 May.