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New rules: Outdoor guests can use the toilet

Credit: Pexels/Elle Hughes

From today, guests invited to your garden can also enter your home to use the toilet, according to the Ministerial Decree published on Sunday.

Following a decision by Belgium’s Consultative Committee on Friday, people are now allowed to gather – while respecting the social distance – in groups of ten outdoors, such as in gardens or on someone’s terrace, and guests are also allowed to use the toilet.

“One person at a time may enter the house or tourist accommodation occasionally and briefly,” it is stated in the official Ministerial Decree. “This person is not considered to be a close contact on a permanent basis.”

This also means that people are allowed to pass through your house to reach the garden, and that direct access is no longer required.

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At the end of last year, Belgium’s Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden announced that meeting in someone’s garden was only allowed if the guests did not have to pass through your house, and only one person could use the toilet – but this rule no longer applies.

Now, Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke stressed that the previous decision was made at a difficult period in the crisis, but that the rule is no longer in force.

“So, from now, you can receive people and you can do so even if they have to go through the house,” he clarified on VTM News.

He also said that entering someone’s home to go to the toilet is allowed for all guests, not only for one designated cuddle contact. “However, this does not mean that it is a good idea to start organising barbecues now. Then, you want to sit close together and create a nice atmosphere.”

“But we are not going to prohibit or fine either,” Vandenbroucke said. “More than ever, we are counting on people’s common sense.”

A complete overview of which of Belgium’s measures change from today can be found here.

The next Consultative Committee will be on 26 March, at which point measures – including the travel ban – can be adjusted again if necessary. For the full timeline, click here.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times