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Garden and DIY shops reopen as Belgium loosens lockdown

Gardening and home improvement shops are allowed to open back up from Monday provided they follow strict social distancing rules. © Belga

A decree published at the weekend has provided more clarity for shops, hotels, and outdoor activities after authorities decided to partially relax the lockdown measures last week.

Published in the Official Journal of Belgium, the ministerial decree followed a decision by the National Security Council (NSC) to allow a certain number of shops to open from Monday.

Home improvement shops that mainly sell building tools and materials, garden shops mainly selling plants and trees and bulk shops for professional retailers were added to the list of shops that can reopen.

Their reopening must follow strict social distancing conditions, with large shops required to ensure there is no more than one customer per 10-square metres and that customers remain in the shop for no longer than 30 minutes.

The reopening of these shops came after a previous partial relaxation which saw telecom and medical device shops open back up under similar conditions.

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The NSC also ruled that horseback riding could now be included in the type of activities allowed in public during the current lockdown, provided it followed certain conditions.

A maximum of two people can now take a horse for a ride, provided that the purpose of the outing is to look after the animal’s wellbeing.

The meeting also saw officials relax some measures regarding live-streamed religious ceremonies, by allowing up to 10 participants to be present during the recording, including the religious leaders officiating and provided that there is at least 1.5 metres distance between them.

The decree also clarified that while hotels and apartment hotels are allowed to remain open, their meeting rooms and leisure facilities must remain closed, as well as their restaurants.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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