Tuesday, 18 August 2020
The National Security Council (NSC) meeting slated for Thursday will focus on deciding whether current restrictions on social gatherings and events will continue to apply through September.
High on the agenda will be whether the current restriction of social contacts will be extended beyond the four weeks that were decided in late July.
Officials at the NSC are also set to discuss whether to relax regulations on public gatherings and events as well as to discuss the return to school.
Additionally, the council —which gathers federal and regional leaders, public health officials and experts advising the government on the pandemic— is also set to review the country’s contact tracing strategy, as the Antwerp province’s infections rates recede and as flare-ups are recorded in Brussels, Namur and Liège.
Expectations are high for restrictions on social contacts and public events to be relaxed in order to boost or relief some of the sectors left hardest-hit by government’s management of the pandemic.
A day after the NSC meeting was announced, representatives of both the retail and the arts and culture sector issued an urgent call for leaders to adopt targetted measures to help businesses survive.
An open letter by the fashion retailer association Mode Unie about the sectors “slow and bloody” demise was followed by calls from events organisers for governments to increase the limits of people allowed to attend events.
The meeting also comes as public unrest grows over the limits imposed on social contacts, with two leading virologists on Tuesday, Erika Vlieghe and Marc Van Ranst, saying that, despite the frustration, it was still “much too early” for Belgium to loosen social contact rules too much.
The Brussels Times