The rule that households can receive up to four persons continues to apply through the end of the year, but it requires direct access to a garden, Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden said on Saturday.
“You cannot pass through living quarters to reach it,” she explained.
“It’s true you can still meet four persons, at least outdoors,” Verlinden said on Radio 1’s morning programme, De Ochtend. Where rooms are concerned, that presupposes that there is a separate door to the garden, she said.
“I realise that not everyone has the opportunity to have a terrace or a garden that’s spacious enough to allow for such meetings, because, naturally, social distancing needs to be respected,” she added, “so that will not be possible for everyone.”
The Minister also insisted that the police will continue to be on the lookout for unauthorised parties. “If there’s a noisy or large festive gathering in an enclosed space, the police can intervene,” she pointed out, “but there is no question of the police systematically ringing each doorbell during the end-of-year period.”
At the end of Friday’s meeting of the Consultative Committee, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo had announced that the rule limiting to one the number of visitors people can receive at home would remain operative for the end-of-year season.
“The Christmas period will be different,” De Croo said. “We’ll celebrate it in smaller groups, but we have to make sure the holidays are not celebrated in loneliness. That’s why the 24th or the 25th of December (but not both), people who are isolated will have the possibility to invite two persons at the same time.”