CST and face masks: These rules change

CST and face masks: These rules change
The CST and general face mask mandate, including in schools, have been lifted. Credit: Belga

As was announced during the Consultative Committee on Friday, Belgium transitioned to code yellow on Monday, meaning the majority of the coronavirus measures in place have been lifted.

From Monday, the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) will no longer be required to gain entrance to events, bars and gyms, given the "favourable evolution of the epidemic conditions," a statement from Home Affairs Minister Annelies Verlinden read.

There will also no longer be a set closing time for the hospitality industry, and the maximum capacity for activities, concert halls and theatres will be lifted, meaning that concerts and other shows can take place in full venues again.

The testing and quarantine rules have not changed, but Belgium's health ministers are expected to discuss this topic on Wednesday during the inter-ministerial conference.

Face masks mandate lifted

The general face mask obligation in public spaces will disappear, and face masks will no longer be compulsory in schools from Monday either.

"However, in places where no safe distance can be maintained, it is still recommended," Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said during a press conference Friday.

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The face mask remains compulsory from the age of 12 in healthcare institutions, such as hospitals and residential care homes, as well as on public transport.

Face masks will remain mandatory on public transport. Credit: Belga

For vulnerable people who are at an increased risk, an FFP2 mask also remains recommended, both indoors and outdoors.

Travel rules eased

As of Friday 11 March, the general obligation to complete the Passenger Locator Form (PLF) will be lifted.

“The PLF only remains mandatory for those who travel to Belgium with a carrier from a third country that is not on the EU’s so-called white list,” Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke said on Friday.

He added that a fully vaccinated person travelling within Europe will be able to do so very easily without too much paperwork.

Third countries on that list – non-European countries with very little virus circulation – are treated as European countries, and so the PLF no longer applies. “That white list may come as a bit of a surprise: the US, the UK or Japan are currently not included on that list,” Vandenbroucke warned.

Rules at work and in schools

A number of preventive measures will continue to apply at the workplace, in accordance with the FPS Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue's "Generic Guide," which provides a framework of measures that can be customised by sectors and by each employer to guarantee a safe restart.

CO2 meters and accompanying action plans for air purification will remain in place in the hospitality sector and indoor public activities.

The end of the federal phase of crisis management will end on Friday, just a few days before the second anniversary of when Belgium first went into lockdown.

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