Despite the recommendation of several experts, Belgium’s National Security Council did not decide to implement a uniform rule for the face mask obligation across the country.
It is still up to local authorities to decide on which streets and busy places face masks need to be worn, as Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès did not announce additional national measures.
“The national measure makes the wearing of a mask that covers your nose and mouth mandatory at markets, in shops and shopping centres, and in certain public areas such as in museums or at events,” Wilmès said during a press conference on Thursday.
In addition to that measure, local authorities can take extra measures, such as making it mandatory to wear a face mask on certain streets or in certain districts.
Earlier on Thursday, virologist Steven Van Gucht said that it would be good to “harmonise” the obligation, so that the same rule can be applied to all situations.
“It is very difficult, at a national level, to say: in this street, you have to wear a mask, and in this street, you don’t,” Wilmès explained.
She also said that even though there is no measure that makes it mandatory to have a face mask with you everywhere you go, Wilmès strongly advises it. “You never know in what kind of situation you end up,” she said.
“If you end up in a situation where masks are not mandatory, but a lot of people are present, it is always safer to still wear one,” Wilmès stressed.