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Belgium in Brief: Party At My House

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As usual, the practical consequences of the theoretical rules announced by the Consultative Committee last week are slowly coming to the surface.

While not as eye-catching as the rule that stated you could invite some guests to your garden but only one of them could use your toilet, or as typically Belgian as the curfew applying for two hours in Brussels before it was lifted across the country, the latest measure has also raised some eyebrows.

According to the government’s “summer plan,” people will be allowed to organise a party in their garden or on their terrace for more than ten people, but only if they hire a professional caterer to do it.

“Everything that is organised [this summer] should be arranged by a professional organisation,” Flemish Minister-President Jan Jambon said on ATV on Sunday.

“Whether it is in a party hall or at someone’s house, if it’s a professional caterer who takes care of things and makes sure that everything is in line with the rules, it is allowed,” he said.

While virologist Marc Van Ranst said that it would make sense to call in a professional, Jambon’s statements were heavily criticised by his colleagues.

“The so-called ‘kingdom of freedom’ is a bit closer for those who have a large garden and can afford a caterer,” said Green MP Imade Annouri. “For the rest, tough luck.”

However, what the final outcome will be is still not sure, and should be cleared up over the next few days, when the Ministerial Decree with all the rules is published.

What do you think? Will you be hiring a caterer?

Let @johnstonjules know. Or @maithechini, since she wrote it today.

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Belgium in Brief is a free daily roundup of the top stories to get you through your lunch break conversations. To receive it straight to your inbox every day, sign up below:

1. Flanders wants to vaccinate teens aged 16-17 by 11 July

In Flanders, not only all over-18s, but also teenagers aged 16 and 17 should get their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine by 11 July, according to Flemish Welfare Minister Wouter Beke.

The Superior Health Council is preparing an opinion about the vaccination of 16- and 17-years-olds for the authorities, and “if deliveries continue to go well, it looks like we will succeed,” Beke said on VTM News on Sunday. Read more.

2. Garden parties allowed this summer, but only with professional catering

People who want to throw a party with more than ten guests in their garden or on their terrace can do so from 9 June, but only if it is organised by a professional caterer, according to Flemish Minister-President Jan Jambon.

In practice, this means that someone is not allowed to throw a garden party for 50 people, “unless they put a professional caterer on it,” he said. Read more.

3. Burnout and long-term depression up by 40% in four years

The number of people who are no longer able to work as a result of burnout or long-term depression has gone up 40% in four years, data published by the National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance (RIZIV) on Monday showed. Read more.

4. Brussels to ban Euro4 diesel vehicles from 2022

Brussels Low Emission Zone (LEZ) will be expanded to include the banning of Euro4 diesel vehicles in order to reduce air pollution starting from 1 January 2022.

This means that cars, vans, buses and minibuses approved under Euro 4 standards, which dictate what is acceptable in terms of vehicle emissions, will no longer be able to circulate within the LEZ, which covers the 19 Brussels municipalities. Read more.

5. Study: Stress personal rather than social gains to swing anti-vaxxers

People who express opposition to being vaccinated against Covid-19 are more likely to respond to messages aimed at them personally than those that stress the social gains, according to research carried out by the university of Oxford. Read More.

6. Belgian government buildings in rainbow colours against homophobia

On the occasion of the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) today, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo’s office at Rue de la Loi 16 will be one of the buildings in Brussels lit up in the rainbow colours. Read More.

7. Over 500 protest coronavirus measures in Brussels Bois de la Cambre

Over 500 people took part in the unauthorised ‘World Wide Demonstration for Freedom,’ a demonstration against the coronavirus measures in the Brussels Bois of La Cambre on Saturday. Read More.

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