Latest Ministerial Decree clarifies rules for religious services
Tuesday, 26 January 2021
Illustration image. Credit: Belga
Belgium’s measures for houses of worship were clarified in the latest Ministerial Decree, published in the Belgian Official Gazette on Tuesday.
Besides giving a legal basis to the ban on non-essential travel announced by the Consultative Committee on Friday, the Decree clarified the rules for religions, after it turned out that several houses of worship allowed too many people inside at the same time.
For civil marriages, funerals, worship ceremonies or any collective practice of worship, a maximum of 15 people are authorised inside, “regardless of the number of rooms inside a building.” Children up to 12 years old and the minister of worship are not included in that maximum number.
This way, the Consultative Committee struck a balance between the adequate management of the health crisis and the protection of religious freedom on the other, according to Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden.
The decision was made following the judgment of the Council of State, Verlinden stressed.
“Some, however, wrongly thought that more individual visitors could be present at the same time in a building intended for worship,” she said, stressing that this poses a serious health risk.