Belgium tightens measures: bubbles shrink, bars close early 

Belgium tightens measures: bubbles shrink, bars close early 
Prime Minister Alexander De Croo © Belga

Belgium is once again tightening its coronavirus measures in the face of rising infections, hospital admissions, and deaths.

Speaking to the press following a Consultative Committee meeting Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Open VLD) and Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke (SP.A) announced new measures, including shrinking bubbles and reduced hours for bars country wide.

The situation is worrying and very serious," said De Croo. "We can see that the spread of the virus is accelerating considerably. We need to stop that acceleration as soon as possible."

Starting from Friday, and lasting a month, the new rules state that:

    • Your 'close' bubble - people you cuddle and kiss - will be reduced to a maximum of 3 per person. As that is not per family, everyone can have 3 people with whom the rules of distance do not apply.
    • Private gatherings at home are limited to a maximum of 4 people in addition to your own family.
    • Cafes and bars countrywide will only be open until 11:00 PM. Only 4 people per table will be allowed to go to the café. Exceptions will be made for people who live with more under the same roof: then a larger table is possible.
    • Restaurant rules remain the same.
    • Non-organised gatherings in the open air are still allowed with a maximum of 4 people.
    • Working from home remains encouraged, several days a week.

The situation is serious," emphasised Vandenbroucke. Yet another effort will be required, because "the children must be able to continue to go to school and the companies must be able to work." "It depends very much on all of us", the minister emphasizes.

“We need to convince people, still, give explanations, we’re going to make bigger efforts for that,” Vandenbroucke said, stressing the need to sensitise. “There are some people who cut corners, we’re going to become more severe with that.”

“Enforcement is becoming very important, everywhere, on the markets, in the shopping streets, on the bus, public transport, everywhere it’s becoming increasingly important to do that.”

Jules Johnston & Jason Spinks

The Brussels Times

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