The Belgian Consultation Committee on COVID19 met today (23 April) and confirmed its previous timetable for relaxing the lockdown in the coming weeks. The details of how the relaxation will be implemented were announced.
The announcement confirmed:
1. End of the Easter break (outer bubble, shops and contact professions)
The committee reconfirmed the end of the Easter break on 26 April. This means that from Monday it is possible to meet outdoors in groups of up to ten people.
From Monday, traders can also receive their customers without an appointment. It is no longer mandatory to shop alone; you can be accompanied by another member of the household.
Non-medical contact professions - including hairdressers and beauty specialists - are reopening under the conditions of reinforced protocols.
2. Terraces opening
The conditions for opening the terraces at bars and restaurants from 8 May have been set as follows:
Maximum of 4 people per table (or people from the same household)
At least 1.5 meters between tables
Seating at table only
Wearing a mask is compulsory for staff and customers whenever they are not seated at the table
Bar service is not allowed
Customers may occasionally and briefly be able to access the interior of the bar/ restaurant to use the sanitary facilities, to gain access the terrace, or to pay.
Opening hours are restricted to 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
The committee also endorsed the previous decisions relating to the cultural and events sector for the month of May. This concerns major events such as cultural and other performances, competitions and trade fairs.
This means that outdoor activities for up to 50 people will be allowed during the month of May. A series of indoor test events will also be organized.
In June, outdoor activities will be possible for up to 200 people. For indoor activities, the maximum room occupancy will be 75% of the CIRM (Covid Infrastructure Risk Model), with a ceiling of 200 people.
Wearing a mask and respecting an appropriate physical distance will always be mandatory during indoor and outdoor events. For indoor events, participants should always be seated.
4. Youth activities and clubs
The committee reconfirmed that from 8 May organized activities (e.g. sports club or association) outside will be authorized with a maximum of 25 participants, for all ages, without public and without overnight stay. Children up to and including 12 years old can meet indoors with a maximum of 10 participants.
From 25 June, indoor and outdoor activities will be permitted with a maximum of 50 participants. Regarding youth camps, overnight stays will also be authorized from this date. Fairs and flea markets and non-professional flea markets will also be authorized from June.
5. Importance of vaccination and personal responsibility
The gradual reopening of the economy and the resumption of social life must keep pace with the vaccination campaign. The Consultation Committee therefore calls on all citizens to be vaccinated: when you receive an invitation to be vaccinated, make an appointment immediately. The invitation is a ticket not only for your freedom, but also for the freedom of all of us.
The relaxation of the rules is being done step by step. More freedom also means more individual responsibility. By ensuring everyone's safety in the days and weeks to come, we can look forward to a great summer.
Original press release (in French) here.