New French measures pose problems for Belgium’s essential travellers
Saturday, 30 January 2021
New measures announced in France to fight against the spread of the coronavirus are posing questions for the remaining Belgians still able to travel under the current border rules in the country.
According to the news French rules – which go into force on Sunday – people arriving in the country from an EU country will have to provide a PCR test, something which is causing issues for those who live close to the border – or who can cross it under one of Belgium’s essential reasons.
Under the new measures, cross–border workers will still be able to move without a test. This holds in line with the rules thus far, as cross border workers have never been prevented from going to work on the other side of the border, even during the first confinement in March.
For the other categories of border crossing, however, the situation will get more complicated on Sunday, with no clear answer as of yet.
Although Belgium has banned non-essential travel since 27 January, it remained possible for Belgians living within a 20km zone around the border to travel to France and continue their basic shopping habits. This possibility was included in the certificate of honour that everyone had to fill out before leaving the country and carry with them before returning.
Following this French measure, however, Belgians who were allowed the cross the border will likely adapt their habits in the face of taking a test for a small trip or facing a hefty fine.
It also remains to be seen how the measures will go into effect in cities like Mouscron or Comines, according to reports from Belga. In these places, the streets of both countries intermix, meaning these new rules could technically mean it is necessary to undergo a PCR test to cross the other side of the road – if taken at face value.