Belgium's National Security Council decided to relax the face mask rules by harmonising them across the entire territory from October, Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès announced during a press conference.
"Wearing a mask remains very important to contain the spread of the virus," Wilmès said. "However, it is useless to make them compulsory anytime, anywhere."
Masks will no longer be mandatory when going outside, except in crowded places and spaces where the social distance cannot be guaranteed.
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These places will be determined at a local level. "To have a coherent policy across the entire territory, we ask the local authorities to strictly follow up on this measure," said Wilmès.
Additionally, wearing a mask remains mandatory in certain other places such as on public transport, shops or cinemas.
Immediately after the press conference, Brussels Minister-President Rudi Vervoort announced that the general face mask requirement across the Brussels-Capital Region would expire on 1 October.
A revision of the general face mask rule was already expected during the previous National Security Council on 20 August, as many local authorities decided to make masks mandatory in the whole municipality, in forests or empty streets.
However, no changes were made then and Wilmès said that, at a national level, it was very difficult to decide which streets were too crowded and which ones were not.
The Brussels Times