Summer camps for children and young people can go ahead starting from 1 July, the steering committee representing the different government levels and experts has decided.
Permission to start planning summer camps and other holiday activities was eagerly awaited, now that children have spent two months at home with little or no contact with each other.
The decision, however, carries a number of strict conditions.
In the first place, none of the activities permitted – whether camps where children stay for a number of days at once, or the so-called playground activities where they go home at the end of each day – must involve no more than 50 people in total. That number includes all participants, children, monitors, administrators and so on.
None of these separate ‘bubbles’ is permitted to have contact with another. A camp with 150 participants, for example, has to split into three bubbles for all its activities, including eating, bathing and sleeping.
Within the bubble, the rules on social distancing are suspended, although Flemish youth minister Benjamin Dalle (CD&V) has asked organisers to use common sense, for example by not organising activities that require too much physical contact, such as rugby games.
“It will be different, but no less fantastic,” Dalle said at a press conference held with youth organisations. “We are counting on everyone: parents, leaders and on young people and children themselves. We cannot reduce the risk to zero, but the rules provide important guidance.”
The steering committee has also given its approval to the organisation of camps outside of Belgium, as long as they are situated within 150km of the border, to allow parents to pick up their children quickly should the need arise.
• In another decision, the committee gave the go-ahead for the opening up of playgrounds from this coming Wednesday, 27 May. The conditions: no more than 20 children at a time, adults accompanying children observe social distancing (but not the children themselves).