Face masks, emergency vehicles, gas prices: what’s new from 1 October?
Share article:
Share article:

Face masks, emergency vehicles, gas prices: what’s new from 1 October?

© Belga

As usual, the start of a new month brings the introduction of new measures, and the end of old ones. Here are some of the changes taking place from 1 October.

The federal health institute Sciensano introduces its Covid-19 barometer, which gathers information from family doctors across the country on consultations with patients complaining of respiratory problems. The frequency of respiratory complaints is considered an indicator of the prevalence of Covid-19 in local populations, which can then give cause for more intensive testing in a particular area. Doctors meanwhile will be compensated according to how many reports they submit a week.

The general obligation to wear a face mask in public in Brussels is lifted. From 1 October, face masks must still be worn inside shops and other establishments, but not on the street in general. Exceptions are busy shopping areas in the city centre, where street signs will indicated the beginning and end of a mask zone. That includes the pedestrian zone and surroundings, as well as parts of the Marolles and the streets around the Basilica of Koekelberg. Outside of the centre, local communal authorities designate their own mask zones.

Also, as previously announced, masks must be carried on the person if not being worn. And the quarantine period is reduced from 14 to seven days, unless cleared by a negative test within that time.

Drivers on roads with at least two lanes must clear a middle lane for emergency vehicles whenever there is a traffic jam. Cars in the centre and right-hand lanes must move as far as possible to the right, while cars in the left lane move to the right, thus leaving a space in the centre for emergency vehicles to pass. The measure has been introduced to allow emergency services to lose as little time as possible when attending an emergency.

Prisons will introduce a simplified procedure to allow prisoners to file a complaint against a decision by the prison’s director affecting the prisoner without having recourse to an intermediary. However the administrative decision must affect the individual prisoner specifically. Decisions having a collective effect are not covered by the new procedure. A complaints committee will rule on the legality of the decision, as well as whether it is reasonable and proportionate.

The social tariff for electricity and gas that applies to low-income households will increase from 1 October. The cost of electricity will go up by about 2.5%, with gas prices increasing by as much as 15%. The increase takes account of a sharp reduction in the social tariff in the previous quarter.

The Walloon region’s public transport authority TEC will introduce a new network of 17 express lines between larger towns. Three are entirely new: Waremme to Namur, Perwez to Ath and Malmedy to Verviers. Ten were already in place: Louvain-la-Neuve-Wavre-Ixelles, Louvain-la-Neuve-Wavre-Woluwe, Wavre-Auderghem, Jodoigne-Louvain-la-Neuve-Ottignies, Tubize-Nivelles, Braine-l’Alleud-Genappe-Louvain-la-Neuve, Nivelles-Louvain-la-Neuve, Bastogne-Namur, Namur-Couvin and Namur-Péruwelz-Jodoigne. And the network will also include the four Wallonia Easy Lines.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Belgian food industry hopeful for future after exceptional challenges
The past two years have posed exceptional challenges to all manner of industries, with almost no sector untouched by the strains the pandemic has ...
Covid Safe Ticket led to more infections in Belgium, says expert
The introduction of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) in Belgium did not necessarily increase the vaccination rate, but instead resulted in more ...
Pfizer and Moderna can ‘adapt vaccines to Omicron variant’ in a few months
If the current mRNA coronavirus vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna are not effective against the Omicron variant of the virus, the companies ...
Video of three trams at standstill on Brussels intersection goes viral
A video of three trams at a standstill in a triangle at an intersection in the Brussels municipality of Schaerbeek last weekend went viral, as it ...
Fake PCR tests lead to court hearings for 160 air passengers
In recent months a high number of passengers arriving at Brussels Airport have been found to have fake negative PCR tests; 160 travellers will appear ...
No crowds, limited events: these measures take effect today
Most of Belgium's latest measures already took effect on Saturday, but some changes – concerning public events, sports competitions and schools – ...
Brussels and Liège residents invited to sleep rough to raise awareness for homeless
As temperatures dip below freezing, sleeping on the streets becomes potentially life-threatening, even without factoring in the myriad other hazards ...
Belgium in Brief: Delta, Gamma… Omicron?
Since June, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is no longer calling newly-discovered coronavirus "variants of concern" after the country where they ...
Omicron variant poses ‘very high’ global risk, warns WHO
The Omicron coronavirus variant poses a "very high" global risk for which countries must be well-prepared, said the World Health Organisation (WHO) ...
De Croo: ‘The one certainty that we can rely on is the impact of our personal behaviour’
On Monday morning, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo spoke on La Première radio station about the recently-announced coronavirus measures and, in ...
Booster vaccines already available for all Brussels residents
All residents of the Brussels-Capital Region from 18 years old can make an appointment for a third/booster dose against the coronavirus from this ...
Covid-19 decisions made ‘too hastily’, socialist leader argues
The government is missing a "general lack of method" when it comes to how coronavirus fighting measures are decided on, according to the leader of ...