Following the announcement that Belgium's National Security Council will meet again on Wednesday, the country has already begun to speculate what could be on the agenda.
Phase 2, which is planned to start on 18 May, is expected to expand further on the relaxing of lockdown measures seen in the past weeks. This, combined with the altogether positive trend seen in Belgium's figures as of late makes a further easing likely, however as Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wimès said, progress is not guaranteed:
“The virus continues to infect people, people continue to be hospitalised and people continue to die. We will not hesitate to reverse the measures if the situation worsens again,” she explained during the previous press conference.
While everything remains unconfirmed until it is announced, here's a quick roundup of what to expect to appear on the agenda for phase 2 and beyond.
Losing The Corona Curls: There is a good chance that as of Monday many Belgians will lose their unintentional corona haircut. Hairdressers and beauticians across the country have been tipped as one of the industries set to reopen, albeit under strict safety regulations.
A Day At The Zoo (or Museum): Museums and zoos could also open their doors again next week. A suggested system would allow a limited number of tickets per day should ensure that there is sufficient distance between visitors, according to media.
Markets To Reopen: Another hotly expected topic is the reopening of markets. As it stands, food trucks are allowed to open, as well as single stalls with specific permissions, but markets remain closed.
Schools: If the evolution of the virus allows it, schools will gradually reopen from Monday 18 May, with pilot projects already starting on Friday 15 May, when the first and second grade of primary education and the 6th and 7th grade of secondary education can restart.
Relaxing of social measures: not on the agenda.
Daytrips: It is a possibility that Belgians will be able to make day trips again, within the country.
Reopening of hotels: If and when B&B's and hotels will be allowed to reopen will likely also be discussed. Cafes, bars and restaurants, however, will definitely remain closed.
Beaches: Following some discussion about if and when day tourists and people with second residences at the coast would be allowed to return, the Council is also expected to decide on the mayors' plan to relaunch coastal tourism.
Speaking previously, Wimès had already hinted that many of these topics would be on the agenda.
“Together with the experts, we are looking at what is possible at markets, museums, libraries, zoos, among others. We are also investigating whether hairdressers and beauty centres can open again and whether more people are allowed at weddings and funerals.”
Jules Johnston & Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times