Monday, 06 July 2020
Belgian wedding parties that were rejoicing at the fact they could potentially dance again have had their all too brief hopes dashed after the latest update made it clear that dancing was banned at weddings.
What is up for debate, however, is if it was ever allowed.
Over the weekend several newspapers – including The Brussels Times – reported the news that dancing would be allowed at weddings, albeit with some strict rules.
The rule states that “the distance of 1.5 meters between guests must be respected unless they are part of the same social bubble (being the 15 people you are allowed to see per week) or live under the same roof.”
This interpretation of the latest decisions taken by the National Security Council (NSC) had caused controversy and the astonished reaction of the President of the Expert Group on Exit Strategy (EGES), Erika Vlieghe.
The chair of the GEES had expressed her surprise: such authorization was not discussed with the experts, she explained. The wedding industry spoke out in support.
Ultimately, it seems it was for nothing.
Just A First Dance
The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) of the federal authorities, however, has since been adapted for dance.
“Can I dance at a private reception or banquet? No, this is not allowed. At wedding receptions, only the first dance between the bride and groom is allowed”, says “info-coronavirus.be” when typing the word “dance” in the FAQs.
This change is in line with comments from Vlieghe, who spoke out against the negative effect on virus spreading that dancing could have.
“This opens the door to old-style weddings and that is dangerous now,” Vlieghe said. “Our advice was clear not to do this. We did not have this in mind when we allowed an opening to make parties possible,” she added.
Dancing people at weddings get closer together, breathe faster, shout to rise above the music and sing along. “It is not without reason that we have so many rules in the culture sector to make it safe. Now, in the private sphere, we would allow all that to happen? I don’t understand,” Vlieghe said.
“If one person is infected without knowing it, this can turn into a ‘superspreading’ event. If you want to get the epidemic going again quickly, this is what you should do,” she added.
From 1 July, up to 50 people were allowed at weddings in reception halls again. From August, this could be expanded to 100 people, with the condition that the reception takes place in an ‘official’ hall. For parties in your own garden, for example, the social bubble of 15 people remains the rule.
The party has to end at 1:00 AM.
Checks will be possible in theory, reports Het Laatste Nieuws, but authorities stated it would be “difficult” to check, and are counting on people’s common sense.
The Brussels Times