During a meeting on Monday, the Federal Government drew up a proposal with a number of measures to be discussed at the Consultative Committee on Wednesday.
While the “core cabinet” – consisting of the Prime Minister and deputy prime ministers – discussed the leaked recommendations made by the GEMS expert group, the ministers did not follow them completely, report local media.
A scenario like in the Netherlands, where the government announced a short, partial lockdown to stop the rapid rise of infections, remains out of the question, as Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke already stated on ‘Terzake’ on Friday evening.
The Federal Government does not want to close sectors, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said on Tuesday morning, and also wants to keep nightlife open, even if the GEMS experts recommend a temporary closure of nightclubs and discos.
Additionally, teleworking could become compulsory up to four days a week, despite employers’ organisations voicing strong opposition to such an obligation which they said was “not an option.”
Reacting to the federal proposal on Twitter, Hans Maertens – managing director of the Flemish network of companies Voka – called a four-day teleworking obligation “disproportionate and unacceptable,” urging the Flemish Government to “stop this at the Committee on Wednesday.”
Voor @vokavzw is verplicht telewerk vier dagen buiten alle proportie en onaanvaardbaar. Bedrijven zijn verantwoordelijk voor arbeidsorganisatie. Overlegcomite moet voorstel federale regering woensdag verwerpen.
— Hans Maertens (@VOKA_HMaertens) November 15, 2021
Another measure on the agenda is the obligation for children from the age of nine (3rd and 4th grade) to wear a face mask. Currently, masks are only mandatory for children aged 12 and over.
While it seems that vaccination will not yet be made mandatory for the general population, the Government officially confirmed that all healthcare staff must be vaccinated by 1 April, or risk losing their jobs.
None of this is final yet, and all the Federal Government’s proposals will be on the table during the Consultative Committee on Wednesday, which also includes the Regional Governments.
Following the meeting, a press conference will be held to announce the final decisions, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Alexander De Croo confirmed to The Brussels Times.