Overlegcomité / Comité de concertation: unrestricted and safe travel in EU during the summer
Today, in the Overlegcomité / Comité de concertation, the Belgian federal and state governments laid down the rules for unrestricted and safe travel within the EU this summer. On Wednesday 9 June, the first step of the Zomerplan / du Plan été will also come into force, including the opening of the indoor catering sector and return to work for teleworkers.
The Comité notes that the number of patients in intensive care due to corona complications continues to decline and is well below the target threshold of 500 beds. The vaccination campaign is also on target, with more than eight out of ten vulnerable people (over-65s and those with underlying conditions) having received their first vaccine dose in the past two weeks.
The Comité confirms the objective to vaccinate the general population as much as possible. In the meantime, caution is still required. It takes up to three weeks after the dose has been administered before the vaccine is sufficiently protective. During that period, people can become infected, become seriously ill and infect other people. It is therefore advisable to observe the rules of conduct, such as wearing a face mask and complying with the 1.5 metre rule.
Unrestricted and safe travel within EU
The Comité has also laid down the rules for travelling freely and safely within the European Union this summer. This will be possible on the basis of the EU Digital COVID Certificate. The certificate will be used in all EU countries from 1 July and is proof that someone has been vaccinated against corona, tested negative for corona or has recovered from corona.
"Travel to countries outside the European Union, meanwhile, remains strongly advised against."
Returning as a resident after staying abroad
Return from a country allocated as a green or orange zone:
No obligation to quarantine or test. Please note: the status of a zone can always change during your stay.
Return from red zone:
If you have a digital corona certificate with complete vaccination (+ 2 weeks), recent negative PCR test (< 72 hours) or recovery certificate, you do not have to undergo quarantine.
Those who are tested immediately upon arrival (day 1 or day 2) do not have to go into quarantine. A negative PCR test is required for persons aged 12 years and older. Children under 12 are exempt from testing.
Return from very high risk area ("variants of concern"):
Mandatory quarantine of 10 days with PCR testing on day 1 and day 7.
This obligation also applies to persons who have been fully vaccinated or who have already tested negative in the country. After all, these are dangerous virus variants that we want to keep out of Europe.
Arrival in Belgium as a non-resident
Arrival from green or orange zone:
No obligation to test or quarantine.
Arrival from red zone:
If you have a digital corona certificate with complete vaccination (+2 weeks), a recent negative PCR test or recovery certificate, you do not have to go into quarantine.
The recent test must not be older than 72 hours before arrival in Belgium.
Arrival from outside the European Union
Those arriving from outside the European Union must have been fully vaccinated (+ 2 weeks) with a vaccine recognised by Europe and take a PCR test on the day of arrival. If the test is negative, this person does not have to go into quarantine.
Arrival after staying in a very high risk area ("variants of concern"):
There is a ban on entry for non-Belgians who do not reside in Belgium and were in the very high-risk zone at any time during the past 14 days. There is an exception for essential travel by transport personnel and diplomats. They must undergo a 10-day mandatory quarantine with PCR testing on day 1 and day 7. The quarantine may only be interrupted for the essential reason.
Anyone in possession of a valid digital corona certificate can travel freely within the Member States of the European Union. This is the basic principle. However, countries of destination can always impose additional conditions.
You should therefore check the exact travel conditions of the country of destination or of the countries in transit sufficiently in advance.
Passenger Location Form remains valid
Nothing changes with regard to the use of the Passenger Location Form.
The distinction between professional and non-professional travel has been abolished. As of 1 July, a PLF must also be filled in for professional travel instead of the Business Travel Abroad tool (BTA).
Two free PCR tests
For children and young people between the ages of 6 and 17, and for adults who have not yet had the opportunity to be fully vaccinated and thereby acquire immunity, the cost of a PCR test will be reimbursed up to a maximum of €55. This concerns tests taken in Belgium, subject to obtaining a Corona Test Prescription Code from the FPS Public Health.
The financial contribution can be used a maximum two times, during the months July, August and September.
Opening hours in the catering industry
The opening hours in the catering sector will be brought forward from 08:00. to 05:00. as of 9 June.
The Comité also decided that from 9 June onwards, the closing time for both indoor and outdoor catering would be raised to 23:30.
The Comité laid down the approval procedure for some 30 test events to be held in the period from 1 July to 31 August. The aim is to acquire additional knowledge on how to organise an event safely, taking into account available scientific data.
Among other things, there will be test events on the use of the COVID Safe Ticket, air quality control and crowd management.
The Comité clarifies the conditions for large-scale events from 13 August. For participants of these events, a complete vaccination (+ 2 weeks) or a recent PCR test (< 72 hours) is required. There is also the possibility of providing rapid antigen tests on site.
There is a maximum limit of 75,000 visitors.
Next Overlegcomité / Comité de concertation
The next Overlegcomité / Comité de concertation is scheduled for 11 June and will deal, among other things, with the further implementation of the Zomerplan / du Plan été from 1 July.