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Belgium in Brief: The World Gets Louder

It’s official, Belgium’s terraces are going to reopen. Honestly, I was starting to think this day would never come.

Some might not think it’s enough, and it might not be a return to normal, but it’s going to bring something back to the streets.

Noise.

A winter without terraces wasn’t so unusual to me. It’s cold, so nobody wants to be outside. I missed hot wine at Christmas markets, realising we would never get into a bar we wanted to and the madness of trying to get home for the holidays.

The streets of Belgium, however, mainly looked the same as usual.

I only started to notice the absence once the weather got a little better and nobody was outside. No laughter or clinking glasses, nowhere to sit, to read a book.

The world was so quiet, I hated it.

So I’m excited about a lot of things. I am excited for a return to normal, to seeing my friends and trying new things.

I’m also just excited about the world looking alive again. I’ve missed the noise.

Do you love the quiet? Or miss the noise? 

Let @johnstonjules know.

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1. Confirmed: Belgium’s terraces will officially reopen on 8 May

Belgium’s Consultative Committee gave the official green light for the reopening of the country’s terraces from 8 May, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced. Read more.

2. Dutch terraces reopen: What’s happening in Belgium?

Credit: Jules Johnston/The Brussels Times

Dutch people flocked to cafés and restaurants on Wednesday, which partially reopened after a six-month closure.

So what’s going on over here in Belgium? 

3. Revealed: Belgium left hospitals off of list of essential services for cyber-protection

The Belgian government neglected to include hospitals on a list of essential services targetted for extra protection against cyber-attacks, De Tijd reveals.

The list was a feature of a 2016 European Union directive – the so-called Network and Information Systems Directive (NIS) – for the protection of essential services and businesses from the growing threat of cyber-attacks. Six sectors were involved: energy, transport, finance, drinking water, digital infrastructure and healthcare. Read More.

4. Belgium in 5th place in Europe’s vaccination ranking

Credit: Belga/Benoit Doppagne

Belgium is currently ranked in fifth place in Europe for having administered the most first doses of a coronavirus vaccine so far, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) vaccine tracker. Read more.

5. ‘Free movement without discrimination’: EU agrees on Covid-19 travel pass

The European Parliament on Thursday agreed on its negotiating position on the proposal for a certificate to reaffirm the right to free movement in Europe during the pandemic. Read More.

6. All important coronavirus indicators slowly decreasing in Belgium

All figures indicating the situation of the epidemic in Belgium are slowly decreasing, according to the latest official figures published by the Sciensano public health institute on Thursday. Read More.

7. 120 cultural venues will defy rules and reopen early

Despite the current ban on indoor cultural events in place as a result of the global pandemic, 120 cultural venues in Brussels and Wallonia have said they will resume their programming on Friday after six months of closing their doors. Read More.