Belgium’s French-speaking Walloon region has announced that it will be tightening the national curfew measures in efforts to clamp down on soaring coronavirus infections.
From Saturday until 19 November all of Wallonia will be required to respect a curfew between 10:oo PM and 6:00 AM, Walloon Minister-President Elio Di Rupo announced on Friday evening.
Exceptions to the curfew can be made for essential travel, such as access to medical care, assistance to the elderly, minors, persons with disabilities, or vulnerable persons. Travel is also permitted for business reasons.
For the rest of the country, including Brussels, curfews continue to apply from midnight to 5:00 AM.
In addition to the curfew, only two people will be allowed to shop together, not accounting for children.
Walloon authorities are asking for the strict enforcement of teleworking until November 19. If not possible, employers and trade unions are asked to ensure that the rules on social distancing, the wearing of masks and other health measures are effective and controlled. There will therefore be controls by the Walloon inspection services.
In nursing homes, only one visitor will be allowed, and a mask must be worn at all times. This person can change every 15 days, and must be organised in a dedicated space, not a room. Exceptions can only be made in end of life situations.
Sports training and matches for the over 12s are suspended. For those under 12 years old, it is possible to practice sports indoors and outdoors.
As it stands, the only measure directly impacting Brussels is the suspension of classroom courses in higher education, which means universities and colleges will have to give all the courses online.
“It is our duty to take strong measures for Wallonia,” said Di Rupo. “The general principle is very clear: our decisions make a partial confinement on the scale of Wallonia a reality.”
Jules Johnston & Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times