Flanders no longer requires face masks at work, Brussels still does
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Flanders no longer requires face masks at work, Brussels still does

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While face masks will no longer be required on the work floor in Flanders from 1 October, people working in the Brussels-Capital Region will have to continue to wear them.

During the press conference after the Consultative Committee meeting on Friday, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo confirmed that, according to the federal rules, face masks are no longer required at work.

“In the federal base there is no longer an obligation,” he said, when asked for clarification by a reporter. “We have clearly indicated where the mask does still apply.”

According to those federal rules, face masks remain mandatory for everyone working in the healthcare sector, public transport staff, airport personnel, and anyone practising a contact profession (like hairdressers or tattoo artists).

For all other professions, wearing a face mask to work will no longer be necessary from October in Flanders.

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In Brussels however, the “old” rules remain in force, stressed Minister-President Rudi Vervoort. The face mask obligation remains, not only for office workers but also for bar-goers and shoppers.

“The health situation in Brussels has improved a little, but it absolutely does not allow us to relax further,” he said.

According to Hans Maertens, delegated director of employers’ organisation Voka, this is now possible in Flanders due to the region’s “sky-high” vaccination rate.

“It is, therefore, safe to let go of the face mask on the work floor now, both in companies and in other parts of our economy and society,” he told Het Nieuwsblad.

“The face mask obligation is becoming more difficult to implement on the work floor every day,” Maertens said. “Support is ebbing away, especially when employees no longer have to follow this rule in their private or recreational lives.”

In Brussels meanwhile, the “strong recommendation” to telework remains in force, and for those who do physically come to work, the social distancing and face mask rules still apply.

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