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Coronavirus: 7 key changes as Belgian rail restarts

As of Monday, Belgian Rail company SNCB has said it will resume almost normal services, with an increased number of trains on the tracks to help passengers enforce social distancing.

As long suspected, however, travel will not be going back to normal, with several new measures rolled out to ensure maximum safety for those riding the rails:

Masks for all: Everyone from the age of 12 must wear a mask (or an alternative that allows covering the mouth and nose) in stations, on platforms and on the train.

Police Checks: SNCB will remind travellers of this through posters, floor stickers and announcements. The police and Securail will also check this as much as possible.

For Sale: Masks will be available for sale on many train platforms, replacing snacks in the vending machines. Stores in stations will gradually try to sell mouth masks and alcohol gel from 11 May.

Keep To The Right: On stairs and escalators, passengers are asked to keep to the right and not to overtake.

Cleaning: Trains and stations will continue to be cleaned more frequently, as has been the case since the beginning of the crisis.

Off-Peak: Travellers are asked to spread out their journeys as much as possible and to give preference to journeys during off-peak hours.

No More Whistles: Finally, train operators will use an electronic whistle to warn travellers that train doors are closing, a more hygienic option than traditional whistles. At the touch of a button a whistle sounds will play, removing the need for conductors to take off their masks, explained NMBS spokesman Dimitri Temmerman.

Those who have not received the electronic whistle will have to shout from Monday, according to the release.

Jules Johnston
The Brussels Times