Share article:
Share article:

Belgium in Brief: What Is An Orange Zone?

Credit: Belga/Lynne Simmerman

We get it, the traffic light system is not the most exciting thing to be reading about – but if you learned to cross the road, you can get this system down. Even if it doesn’t always seem the easiest to get your head around.

Green means go (or you can go, people actually wanting to travel is a totally different issue, as is the debate on if Belgians are allowed to enter the countries that Belgium has marked green).

Orange zone means travellers will need to have “increased vigilance” and will be asked – NOT forced – to get tested and quarantine upon return.

Red means a formal travel ban, so people returning from a red zone are required to be tested and quarantined when back in Belgium.

See, simple enough right?

The far more complex part of this is seemingly constant changes to the colour markings of the areas. Updated with increased frequency over the past few days – even twice in one day at one point – it’s always best to keep one eye on the traffic lights when planning for a trip.

In the meantime, the country adjusts to wearing masks in most areas of life with some success & some dramatic stories of disgruntled customers, but we’ll get to that.

With so much information, and so little time to catch up before it potentially changes again, here are some of the top stories from around the country to get you up to speed.

Belgium in Brief is a free daily roundup of the top stories to get you through your lunch break conversations. To receive it straight to your inbox every day, sign up below:

1. Belgium to quarantine travellers from 18 more EU areas

This weekend, Belgium published an updated list of EU regions and countries that are now considered “red” or “orange zones” for travel, meaning travellers from there will be asked to quarantine upon return.

The list of red, orange and green travel zones on the website of Belgium’s Foreign Affairs Department was updated this weekend with more red zones, as well as several orange ones. Read more.

2. Woman arrested for attacking Lidl staff who told her to wear a mask

Antwerp police have arrested a 28-year-old woman after she attacked the cashier and started throwing flower pots in a Lidl on Saturday,

Officers were called on a Lidl in Antwerp North on Saturday after the woman grew aggressive towards staff when she was reminded that she should have worn a mask.

When police arrived, she tried to bite them. Read more.

3. New coronavirus infections in Belgium rise for the third day in a row

An average of 84 people per day tested positive for the new coronavirus (Covid-19) in Belgium during the past week, according to figures by the Federal Public Health Service on Friday.

The total number of confirmed cases in Belgium, since the beginning of the pandemic, is 62,357. The total reflects all people in Belgium who have been infected, and includes confirmed active cases as well as patients who have since recovered, or died from the consequences of the virus. Read More.

4. ‘Don’t like it, don’t board’: outrage over crowds at Brussels Airport

Images of passengers being packed together waiting to board a flight at Brussels Airport have sparked outrage online as one passenger explained how social distancing measures were not respected at all.

One passenger, Lynne Simmerman, took to social media to show what she called “unacceptable service” at Brussels Airport when she and her 4-year-old child were told to “just push through” the waiting crowd when they wanted to board their United Airlines flight on Thursday.

“I have submitted a complaint to the airline, but I have not received a response yet,” Simmerman told The Brussels Times. Read more.

5. Belgians open their gardens to travellers for a lockdown-proof summer

A Brussels-based biking enthusiast has come up with an alternative holiday destination for those looking to travel locally during a summer rife with coronavirus-uncertainties: other people’s gardens.

Welcome to My Garden, an online platform launched by 28-year-old Dries Van Ransbeeck, aims to connect locals with ‘slow travellers’ (hikers and cyclists) moving through the country this summer and looking for a place to pitch a tent.

“The idea is for locals to put their gardens at the disposal of slow travellers for a maximum camping stay of 48 hours,” Van Ransbeeck said, adding that his project aimed to contribute to a different way of travelling in Belgium. Read more.

6. Compulsory face masks, day one: ‘Everything went calmly’

Saturday was the first day the population was obliged to wear a face mask in public spaces like shops, banks and cinemas.

The measure had been introduced at very short notice, although experts had been calling for it for longer. How did it go on the first day?

“The rule was very well respected, that was what we hoped for,” said Dominique Michel, managing director of Comeos, the federation for the retail sector. “We appealed to everyone’s sense of responsibility and everyone heard that call. It went very well.” Read more.

7. 8.5 million free face masks still available in Belgian pharmacies

“Twelve million of these masks were sent by the Defence to 28 wholesalers’ depots, which in turn distributed a large proportion of them to pharmacies,” said APB vice-president Koen Straetmans.

Only 3.5 million masks out of the 12 million ordered by Defence have been distributed so far. Read more.

Jules Johnston
The Brussels Times

Latest news

England now accepting cheaper Covid tests from fully vaccinated travellers
Fully vaccinated travellers who enter England from non-red countries will only be required to book a lateral flow test to take following their ...
Re-introducing face masks indoors considered as Covid-19 situation worsens
Belgium's council of ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the worsening epidemiological situation, and reintroducing face ...
Federal museums to receive €2.9 million booster shot
Federal museums will receive an additional €2.9 million in support from the government for the fiscal year 2021, of which the first payouts will be ...
European Parliament emphasises healthy food and animal welfare in EU Farm to Fork Strategy
The European Parliament adopted this week a resolution on the EU Farm to Fork Strategy calling for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food ...
Threats of strike action could affect Brussels’ STIB network from Monday
Brussels public transport operator STIB's trams, buses and metros could be affected from Monday 25 October onwards as the union representing the ...
Number of international adoptions in Belgium continues to drop
The number of regulated international adoptions authorised by Belgium further dropped in 2020, continuing an ongoing decreasing trend. Last ...
Disaster drill with emergency services held at Brussels Airport
Around 300 people took part in a disaster drill held was organised on Saturday by Brussels Airport in collaboration with external emergency services ...
Austria presents bill to legalise euthanasia
Austria’s government on Saturday presented its proposals for legalising assisted suicide, in response to a Constitutional Court ruling that the ...
Brussels’ Museum Night Fever draws in some 12,000 visitors
Some 12,000 participants took part in the 14th edition of Museum Night Fever in Brussels, with the 29 participating museums filled to the maximum ...
Relaunch of 10,000 steps campaign to get Flemish people moving
The Flemish government is breathing new life into its 10,000 steps campaign to get people in the region moving after a recent survey found that a ...
‘No scientific basis’ for giving everyone third dose, vaccine expert says
The head of Belgium's Vaccination Taskforce has argued that there is not enough scientific evidence to support the Flemish government's decision to ...
Brussels bars linked to alleged sexual assault vouch to improve women’s safety
The management of the two bars in Ixelles, which made headlines in recent days after several young women reported that they had been drugged then ...