Relaxing lockdown measures: Will they or won't they?

Relaxing lockdown measures: Will they or won't they?
Credit: Belga

At the moment, Belgium's National Security Council is meeting to discuss the next step of the country's exit, but as the figures are on the rise again, it is not guaranteed that the next relaxations will take place as planned.

Since at 8:00 AM on Wednesday, the Council is discussing whether or not the planned relaxations from 1 August can be implemented, now that the coronavirus figures have been rising again for some days.

"If this continues, the next relaxations will certainly not be possible," Federal Health Minister Maggie De Block told VRT earlier this week.

"We have to prepare scenarios, as in the previous phases of the exit plan, but confirmation will only come in the last week before that date. We cannot do that today because of the epidemiological situation and the number of infections," Federal Minister for Mobility François Bellot said.

After the previous National Security Council (NSC), most of the remaining restrictions were lifted, with the exception of nightlife and large events. Swimming pools, wellness centres, cinemas, reception halls and casinos reopened, albeit under certain conditions.

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Events with a maximum audience of 200 (indoors) or 400 (outdoors) were also allowed to restart from July. From August, these maxima could be doubled if the evolution of the figures allowed it, Belgian Prime Minister Wilmès said at the previous meeting.

Mass events and nightlife will certainly remain out of the question until 31 August, but the NSC will likely start looking towards September.

From last Saturday, wearing face masks has been made compulsory in shops and shopping malls, cinemas, theatre, concert and conference halls, auditoria, places of worship, museums and libraries.

The list could still be adapted over time, depending on the epidemiological situation of the country, the cabinet of Wilmès then announced.

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