Belgium should begin to prepare for Christmas not being the way we expect it to be, Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke has said.
Despite current lockdown measures scheduled to end in mid-December, Vandenbroucke has made it clear that he believes parties collecting together family members do not seem feasible with the country's current coronavirus situation.
"Our situation is much worse than that in Germany and worse than the British situation," Vandenbroucke said. Belgium's current lockdown measures, which went into force on Sunday evening, will last until 13 December - with an evaluation set for 1 December.
"We would like to be able to make Christmas beautiful," said Vandenbroucke, however gathering together large groups is likely not going to be part of that. "Such a large collection" of family members is "not so likely, he explained.
This position was supported by Minister of the Interior, Annelies Verlinden, who stressed the need to comply with current measures, while refusing to comment on what could happen in the future. "I'm not going to make promises that I can't keep," she said.
The new measures are slightly more relaxed than those seen during the previous lockdown. More businesses are allowed to stay open, and others may operate a delivery service or click and collect, where customers can order goods by phone or online, pay online and pick up their purchases at the shop’s entrance.
For a full list of open stores, see here.
For a roundup of the new measures, click here.
The Brussels Times