Belgium’s latest meeting of the consultative committee has unveiled new measures for the country aimed at enforcing the current rules more strictly.
While the press conference covered a lot of questions – more on that here – here’s what Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced during a press conference on Friday.
Strict rules on travel
Any kind of travel remains strongly discouraged, with De Croo stressing the importance of not importing the virus.
Anyone who does not respond to this call and stays abroad for more than 48 hours is now considered a high-risk contact.”
Anyone returning from a red zone must therefore be quarantined for at least seven days.
Passenger Locator Form (PLF) will be strictly checked at the airports.
Travellers must be able to submit a negative coronavirus test before entering our country.
Residents will not have to provide a test.
This will start on 25 December.
The exchange of data between the Sciensano database and the local authorities and police will be improved, allowing better monitoring of the quarantine measures, according to the Ministers-President of the different regions.
After seeing that the rules were not being followed, there will be a push to ensure they are. “Teleworking is not an option but an obligation,” said De Croo.
There will be stricter controls on teleworking, and companies that do not comply with the rules risk a “severe fine.”
There will be stricter checks on whether the measures are respected on public transport.
Curfews will remain a regional competency, meaning Flemish people have to stay inside between midnight and 5:00 AM. In Brussels, the curfew starts at 10:00 PM, as well as in Wallonia.
No changes to social rules
The so-called cuddle contact rules remain in place: every family member has the right to one additional contact with whom a permanent close contact is maintained, with whom the social distance does not have to be respected and whom you can invite to your home.
As with before, multiple contacts cannot be invited to the same house/family at the same time, and those who live along can have 2 contacts – but not at the same times.
Even for Christmas
The only change to the above rules is that people living alone can invite their two cuddle contacts together for that day.
No extended school break
Belgian schools will open again on 4 January, as long as they follow measures that have already applied in recent weeks, as such, the Christmas vacations will only last two weeks.