Following a meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès has today (27 July) confirmed that from 29 July, for at least four weeks, the ‘social bubble’ in Belgium will be reduced from 15 to five people. This five-person limit is per household - not per person. And the bubble must be the same five people for the whole four-week period.
For private events, such as family get-togethers and weddings, the limit is now 10 people. For organised events, the maximum audience has been halved with the limit at 100 people indoors and 200 people outdoors with the wearing of face masks compulsory.
In addition, and for the same period, you must shop alone again, unless accompanying children or with a person in need. The maximum time allowed in any shop returns to 30 minutes. And, where possible, working from home is strongly encouraged.
Your contact details should also be collected if you visit a sports clubs, the hairdressers, beauty salons etc. The full list of applicable venues will be published shortly.
Finally to avoid crowding in parts of the country, the offer to grant free train travel to citizens will be postponed until September.
This tightening of coronavirus measures follows a recent 71% surge in new infections in Belgium. PM Wilmès said the new restrictions were "very strong", but the alternative would be a renewal of the full lockdown.
Local authorities are also urged to introduce more stringent local measures to combat virus 'hotspots. This is currently the case in the province of Antwerp where the local authorities have imposed a curfew from 23h30 to 6h00, teleworking is now mandatory, limitations to sporting activities apply, and restaurant and bars’ closing time has been brought forward. Even stricter rules apply within the city of Antwerp and its immediate surrounding municipalities where all events are prohibited and sport clubs are closed. People from outside the province are asked not to come to Antwerp.
You can find the press release (in French) with full details here.
Sciensano statistics updates. The latest update to the COVID-19 epidemiological situation in Belgium (in English) can be found here.
Federal Government COVID-19 information
The Bulletin's COVID-19 webpage (updated daily)