‘Cuddle contact’ rules mean parents can’t take baby on Christmas visit
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‘Cuddle contact’ rules mean parents can’t take baby on Christmas visit

Credit: Belga

After the announcement that children under 12 years old also count as ‘cuddle contacts’ indoors shook up many Christmas plans, it turns out this also includes babies.

“[Children under 12] count as a cuddle contact, and also as the only allowed visitor,” Yves Stevens of the Crisis Centre told Het Nieuwsblad.

“The rule about children under 12 years old counting as cuddle contacts indoors also applies to babies,” an employee of the Coronavirus infoline clarified to The Brussels Times.

This means that bringing your baby when visiting someone, for Christmas or otherwise, is not allowed – a measure with far-reaching implications for many everyday situations.

A single parent with a toddler, for example, will not be allowed to enter someone else’s home for Christmas unless the child stays at home. However, babysitting a child is only allowed if they are your cuddle contact.

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Additionally, when visiting a baby, you cannot hold it in your arms, unless the baby becomes your only cuddle contact for the coming weeks.

“We have tried through all channels to communicate and inform clearly, but I understand that sometimes people find it difficult to follow the right rules,” said Stevens, adding that all rules have a virological background.

The clarification came after Bart Tommelien, the mayor of coastal city Ostend, faced criticism after sharing a clip on Facebook in which he is seen celebrating Sinterklaas with his two grandchildren, who are both younger than two years old.

He later tweeted that he had “unconsciously and even unknowingly made a mistake.”

“As a mayor, it is impossible for me not to follow that rule,” Tommelein said. “But I cannot imagine that any police officer or politician would consider it a priority.”

According to Stevens, too, there is little chance of major sanctions for having an extra child in your home for the holidays.

“There is a big difference between (unknowingly) committing a minor offence and deliberately throwing a party for twenty people,” he said.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times