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How meeting in ‘outdoor bubbles’ of 10 works now

© Belga

Following the decision of the Consultative Committee last Friday to relax some measures, people can meet outside in groups of ten again this week.

“A lot of people have been looking forward to this, as everyone longs for more social contact,” said Yves Stevens of the National Crisis Centre.

However, it is important to pay attention to some precautions when meeting friends or family outside. “As with everything, the most important thing is to respect the safe social distance between the different people present,” Stevens said.

– You can meet up in a park or in the woods, but also in a private garden or on someone’s terrace. As was clarified earlier this week, passing through someone’s house to get to the garden is allowed, and everyone (not only a ‘chosen close contact’) can use the toilet.

– You can meet up outdoors in groups of ten adults, children up to 12 years old do not count.

– If you feel a bit sick, or you have minor symptoms, cancel. “This way you protect the health of your family or friends,” said Stevens.

– Do not share things, like food, snacks or glasses, with each other.

“You could also use this opportunity to meet with people who are going through a more difficult time, and who may not feel well during this period,” said Stevens. “A good conversation means a lot in this strange and difficult period.”

Earlier this week, virologists already stressed that “meeting up in groups of ten while respecting the measures” was not the same as “a larger outdoor bubble.

These people cannot become close contacts or so-called “cuddle contacts,” according to virologist and interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht.

“That would be very unwise: we are currently faced with the more contagious British variant, the predicted difficult month of March is not yet behind us and we are still recording relatively high infection and hospital figures,” he said.

Additionally, the Crisis Centre stressed that even though the weather forecast for this weekend is not too good, bad weather “should in no way be a reason” to move plans indoors.

“With appropriate clothing, a walk is still possible. But if you do not feel up to it, move your appointment to a later date when the weather is nicer,” Stevens said. “If you pay attention to the necessary precautions, you can safely have a drink together, but always respect the distance rules.”

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times