The current target for when measures could be relaxed is "far too strict," according to the hairdressers' federation Febelhair and the Belgian Beauty Federation (BBF), who are calling for more information from the next Consultative Committee.
Hairdressers and beauticians, who have been forced to close their doors for almost three months as part of health measures, are asking for clarification on a reopening date for professions requiring close contacts with clients from the next Consultative Committee.
The last news for the sector came at the end of November, when Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke said that the measures would only be relaxed when the number of new infections was lower than 800 per day and the number of hospitalisations was below 75 per day, for three weeks.
As it stands, these numbers are yet to be reached, prompting the hairdressers' federation Febelhair and the BBF to announce that they are "far too strict."
Hairdressers have been asking for a reopening since early December, but in an interview on 3 January, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo stressed that people would have to stick to the rules if they wanted to go to the hairdresser, repeating Vandenbroucke's threshold for relaxations.
"Under the leadership of the GEMS (Expert Group for the Covid-19 Management Strategy, editor's note), our non-medical contact professions are currently being prepared for a safe restart," according to Mario Blokken of the BBF. "In the very short term, we will be ready to reopen more safely than ever."
If the reopening is not possible in the short term, additional support measures will be necessary, the federations announced.
They also expect the Flemish government to "substantially reduce" the withholding tax. At the federal level, they would like to see VAT reduced to 6% for one year, following the example of the hospitality industry.
"If the downward trend in the coronavirus figures continues, the Consultative Committee must put the revival of the contact professions at the top of the agenda," said Danny Van Assche of the employers' federation Unizo. "They were promised that they would be included in the next relaxation."
Belgium’s Consultative Committee is meeting on Friday afternoon to evaluate the current situation and measures, and discuss a possible timeline for reopening several sectors that have been affected by the pandemic.
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The Brussels Times