Belgium’s hospitality sector will likely not reopen before March, experts say
Share article:
Share article:

Belgium’s hospitality sector will likely not reopen before March, experts say

Credit: Belga

Belgium’s bars and restaurants will likely not reopen before March if the infection and hospitalisation figures continue to evolve at this rate, according to prediction models by several experts.

In the best-case scenario, Belgium will not reach the set thresholds – of 800 infections and 75 hospitalisations per day – before relaxations can be considered before February, according to prediction models by biostatistician Geert Molenberghs (UHasselt and KU Leuven) and Niel Hens (UAntwerp), among others.

However, even then, the trends must continue to evolve favourably and remain under these thresholds for some time, before the country can proceed to relaxations.

Additionally, as bars and restaurants are unlikely to be among the first to be allowed to (partially) reopen, the hospitality will have been shut down for about half a year, according to Matthias De Caluwe, CEO of Horeca Vlaanderen.

“However, no one has any interest in looking too far ahead just yet,” he told Het Laatste Nieuws.

Related News:


“We are currently in consultation with experts about the sector protocol for a reopening,” De Caluwe said. “In this new plan, we want to tackle the problem of aerosols (small particles of dust and liquid present in the air) in indoor spaces.”

Additionally, whether the curve drops below the set thresholds in February or early March also depends on people’s behaviour during the end-of-year festivities.

“If 20% of the population invites four people, we will reach the threshold of 75 hospital admissions per day with a delay of one month,” virologist and interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht said during a press conference on Monday.

“That means that one day of celebrating would put us in lockdown for one additional month,” he added.

On top of that, infectious disease expert Erika Vlieghe on Saturday said that Easter could be “a realistic anchor point” to start relaxing some of Belgium’s measures, as many people will have been vaccinated then.

Not all measures will be able to be lifted or relaxed at the same time, but Belgium also does not have to wait until the whole population has been vaccinated.

“It will be in stages, and always on the basis of the figures,” Vlieghe stressed. “But if you ask me if that can start during spring break, I think: that is too soon. Easter seems more realistic as an anchor point.”

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Non-urgent care once again postponed in some hospitals
As the worsening coronavirus situation in Belgium is starting to take its toll on hospitals, it has been confirmed non-urgent care will once again be ...
Brussels Airport warns autumn holidaymakers to arrive early
Passengers leaving from Brussels Airport this autumn have been advised to factor in extra time to account for longer than normal check-in times and ...
27,000 Belgian taxpayers to pay more after incorrect tax break
About 27,000 taxpayers who wrongly received a tax reduction in the last three years due to an error by the tax administration will have to pay what ...
Wallonia launches first major survey for cyclist satisfaction
Following in the footsteps of France and Flanders, the Wallonia Region of Belgium is launching its first major satisfaction survey on municipal ...
After 5 rescues in 2 days, hundreds of migrants take shelter in Italy
After five rescues in less than two days, almost 400 migrants aboard the Geo Barents search and rescue ship in the Central Mediterranean, operated by ...
Belgian wind farm closed down to save migrants floating in sea
A wind farm near Zeebrugge had to be shut down on Wednesday morning as more than 25 migrants had been adrift in its vicinity off the Belgian coast ...
Cinemas will require Covid Safe Ticket from Friday
The Covid Safe Ticket (CST) will be required to attend cinemas across Belgium from Friday, which marks the start of the autumn holidays, the ...
Strong warnings issued ahead of climate change summit
New and updated climate commitments fall far short of what is needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, leaving the world on track for a ...
Disastrous year for Belgian beekeepers
Belgian beekeepers have experienced a disastrous year, with honey production 50 to 60 percent lower than last year due to heavy rainfall during ...
New measures for schools considered as situation becomes ‘untenable’
Belgium's various education partners met on Wednesday to discuss additional measures to implement in schools as the coronavirus situation worsens in ...
Belgium in Brief: Back To Masks
I really hope you didn't throw out all your masks. You'll be needing them again. Now I do appreciate that this isn't a huge change for ...
Belgium a climate slowcoach as EU reveals emissions progress
The European Union is on track to pass its first big climate test, according to new figures published this week. But Belgium has been singled out for ...