New restrictions linked to the coronavirus pandemic took effect on Saturday, one year after a lockdown was first instituted in Belgium, as pandemic-related indicators sank back into the red.
Non-essential businesses are now open only to customers with appointments, hairdressing salons and other non-medical contact professions are again closed and the outdoor social bubble has once more been reduced to four.
On Wednesday, the Consultative Committee agreed on these and other restrictions to curb the advance of the virus, which has been joined by a number of variants. Most of the measures took effect on Saturday.
In addition to being open only by appointment, non-essential businesses may only have a limited number of passengers, depending on the size of the store, and up to an absolute maximum of 50 persons.
Home deliveries and click-and-collect shopping are still possible as long as there is no physical contact and customers do not enter the store.
Essential businesses, such as pharmacies and stores selling foodstuff, books, sanitary supplies, flowers, plants, cloth and related items, and telecommunication appliances, along with DIY stores, can continue serving customers without appointments.
Service providers such as car wash stations, ice cream merchants and real estate companies are also authorised to continue their activities.
Hairdressers, who had been allowed to reopen their establishments on 13 February are once again forced to close their doors. So are other contact professionals who resumed on 1 March.
The establishments concerned by these restrictions included beauty salons, manicure and pedicure establishments, massage parlours, barbershops, tattoo artists and piercing salons.
Restrictions on assembly have been tightened. While the indoor close-contact bubble remains restricted to one person, for outdoor contact, the bubble has been reduced from 10 persons in early March to four persons today.