Belgium's new coronavirus measures: what changes from tomorrow?

Belgium's new coronavirus measures: what changes from tomorrow?
Credit: Belga/Pxfuel

Belgium's tightened coronavirus restrictions will enter into force from Wednesday 29 July, for at least four weeks, and aim to avoid another full lockdown.

During the press conference on Monday, Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès stressed that even though the new restrictions would only take effect on Wednesday for practical reasons, "the few days in between do no serve as a period in which you can do just about anything, like we saw before the lockdown started in March. That is not the right spirit at all."

Up until now, people in Belgium were allowed to see 15 people per week. From Wednesday, social bubbles will be reduced to a maximum of 5 fixed people per household, children under 12 not included.

If you want to meet up with your social bubble, for a trip or to go to a restaurant, the group may not exceed the limit of 10 people, Wilmès cabinet clarified. Children under 12 are not included in this number.

This limit of 10 people also counts for receptions, banquets and private gatherings. This means that, from Wednesday, the number of people allowed at, for example, weddings will also be reduced from 50 to 10.

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For larger events, the number of people allowed to attend has been halved. Where outdoor events could take place with 400 guests before, the maximum has been cut back to 200. Indoor events, which could take place with 200 attendees, will now only allow 100.

Shopping will have to be done alone again. When the figures were declining, Belgium allowed people to go shopping with their family or friends again, but now that they are on the rise again, the National Security Council introduced its initial measure again.

This means that 'funshopping' is not allowed, and that people can only stay in a store for a maximum of 30 minutes. Minors and people who need help, however, can still be accompanied.

The list of places that will require people to register and leave their contact details, to facilitate contact tracing, will be extended. Previously, this was only mandatory for businesses in the hospitality sector such as cafes and restaurants, but the list will now be extended to also include wellness centres and sports classes, among others.

Additionally, the importance of teleworking, even though it always remained recommended, was also stressed again.

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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