Belgium will go ahead with the next phase of its exit plan out of the lockdown from 8 June as planned, announced Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès during a press conference on Wednesday.
"The indicators are encouraging, as we can see in the daily reports of the figures," said Wilmès. "To be honest, it's looking better than we and the experts expected at the moment. This is the result of the collective effort of all of us," she added.
"At the beginning, we started by banning everything, there was a kind of lockdown. Nothing was allowed except for some activities. From 8 June, we will be able to reason differently. Everything will be allowed, except the activities that are specifically forbidden," Wilmès said.
There are 6 golden rules, that will be important at all times for individual conduct.
1: Hygiene rules remain essential.
2: Preferably, do your activities outside, because there is less risk of infection.
3: Take extra precautions with people in risk groups.
4: The social distance of 1.5 metres always remains applicable. Always. Except for people from your own household or your bubble, or in the case of children younger than 12 among each other.
The last 2 rules are specifically important from 8 June.
5: You can have closer contact with 10 people per week. This means that that group can change every week.
6: If you do something in a group, that group may not be larger than 10 persons, children included. This applies everywhere.
Phase 3: 8 June
All activities can be restarted but without an audience.
Teleworking is recommended, if possible. Sectors that can restart may do so under certain protocols, which will be determined in negotiations with the sector.
Cafes, bars and restaurants may reopen, with a distance of 1.5 m between tables, maximum 10 people per table and everyone must order at the table. Waiters must wear a face mask. Businesses may remain open until 1:00 AM.
Night shops will also be allowed to stay open until 1:00 AM.
Sports activities, both amateur and professional, may resume, but without an audience. However, sports that require close contacts between people, such as judo and football, must be limited to non-contact training.
Fitness centres may open again, but swimming pools and wellness centres must remain closed.
Religious services may be resumed, with a maximum of 100 people present. Rites that require physical contact, however, remain forbidden.
Trips within Belgium, for one or more days, will be allowed again.
From 15 June, it will again be possible to travel abroad to countries within the Schengen zone, although this will still depend on the rules in the country of destination.
All cultural activities with an audience can be organised again, for a maximum of 200 people. Wearing a face mask is highly recommended for anyone attending.
Cinemas and theatres can also reopen.
For sports games, audiences will be allowed again as well, but also according to some protocols.
Amusement parks and gaming halls may open their doors again. Halls where festivities are organised, such as weddings, can be reopened with a maximum of 50 people.
The maximum number of people allowed at a religious service will be increased to 200. Rites that require physical contact, however, still remain forbidden.
Nightclubs will have to wait until the end of the summer to reopen.
"8 June is not the finish line of the exit plan," said Wilmès. "Phases 4 and 5 will take place in July and August if the situation permits. The virus is not gone, and neither are the risks. We must remain vigilant, even though many are thoroughly tired of it by now. It remains important to use common sense in all situations," added Wilmès.
"Keep taking care of yourself and others," she added.
The Brussels Times