National Security Council on Friday: what will be discussed?
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National Security Council on Friday: what will be discussed?

Credit: Belga

On Friday, Belgium’s National Security Council (NSC) will meet to discuss the next step in the e phase-out of the lockdown measures beyond 3 May.

Ahead of the meeting, a draft version of recommendations by the Group of Experts for an Exit Strategy (GEES) to relax the measures was leaked to the press. However, several experts, as well as the Belgian Prime Minister, expressed their regrets about the leak, and stressed that the leak only concerned a draft version.

The leaked report recommended a partial reopening of businesses and shops from 4 May and a return to school from 18 May, as well as the reopening of several businesses and companies.

During the press conference after the last National Security Council meeting, Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès announced that all mass events until 31 August would be cancelled, and that the discussion about smaller events would be held during this meeting.

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This means, in particular, that Friday will bring clarity about whether or not weddings can still take place, after the sector asked for clarification several times.

The reopening of schools and the further course of the academic year will also be on the agenda. Earlier this week, Brussels schools announced that they would not organise final exams, but Flemish Education Minister Ben Weyts announced that he still wants to go through with them, and aims to partially reopen schools from 15 May.

The restart of work in a number of sectors, mainly non-essential activities including construction, wholesale trade, manufacturing and transport (except for aviation) will also be discussed, according to the leaked report, and banks and insurance companies, as well as administrative services, were explicitly mentioned as well.

In terms of social contact, the leaked recommendations suggest that allowing people to meet with a fixed group of up to ten people will also be discussed.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times