Belgium will relax its current coronavirus restrictions in several stages over the coming months, announced Prime Minister Alexander De Croo during a press conference on Tuesday.
“The Committee has been able to establish a broad summer plan to relax measures,” said De Croo. “Four out of ten adult Belgian residents have already received their first vaccine dose. And the campaign will also accelerate.”
“The plan is based on two pillars: the first is vaccination, which is going extremely well,” he said. “And the second is, of course, the situation in intensive care.”
Belgium is now moving “from collective responsibility to individual responsibility,” according to De Croo.
“We can take on this individual responsibility by complying with the rules we already know, but also by working on ventilation,” he said. “It is a small effort, but can save many lives.”
“Get vaccinated,” De Croo stressed. “Getting vaccinated is above all an act of solidarity. By getting vaccinated you are giving the opportunity to those who have not had the chance yet.”
From 9 June
“From then on, eight out of ten vulnerable people should be vaccinated, which corresponds to about 50% of adults,” De Croo said.
The hospitality sector will be allowed to serve clients inside again, with a maximum of four people per table (unless it concerns a larger household). The indoor areas will have to close at 10:00 PM, and the closing time for terraces will be moved up to 11:30 PM.
Additionally, fairgrounds, fitness centres, casinos, cinemas, theatres and bowling alleys will also be allowed to open their doors again. This is also the case for the indoor areas of zoos and amusement parks.
People will be allowed to receive four close contacts at home.
Physically going to the workplace will be allowed again once a week. Only 20% of staff can be present at the same time.
A maximum of 200 people will be allowed at indoor events, and 400 people at outdoor ones.
Religious ceremonies will be allowed indoors with 100 people, and outdoors with 200 people.
For non-professional sports, activities can take place indoors with 50 participants, or outdoors with 100 participants.
For youth activities and camps, the maximum number of participants remains 50, both inside and outside. Overnight stays are not yet allowed.
Indoor parties and receptions, such as for weddings, may take place with up to 50 people, following the same measures as the hospitality industry.
As for travel, no decision will be made before the European Council meets on 25 May, according to De Croo. “However, there is no doubt that we will be able to go on holiday in Europe this summer,” he said, adding that the modalities still have to be decided.
60% of adults in Belgium should have received their first vaccination, and the number of hospitalisations should be “evolving positively,” according to De Croo.
Teleworking will no longer be mandatory, but instead become recommended again.
Youth activities and camps will be allowed with a maximum of 100 participants, and overnight stays will be allowed as well.
The maximum number of people allowed at events will rise to 2,000 indoors (depending on the capacity of the venue), and 2,500 outdoors.
For non-professional sports activities, all restrictions will be lifted.
For religious ceremonies, 200 people will be allowed indoors, and 400 outdoors.
Restrictions on shopping will be lifted, meaning people can shop with more than one person again, and the time limit of 30 minutes per store is no longer applicable.
Indoor parties and receptions may take place with up to 100 people again, following the same measures as the hospitality industry.
By then, 70% of the adult population should have received at least their first vaccination.
The maximum number of people allowed at events will be increased to 3,000 indoors, and 5,000 outdoors.
Youth activities and camps can be organised for up to 200 people, including overnight stays.
Parties and receptions indoors can take place with 250 people, according to the rules of the hospitality industry.
Religious ceremonies, weddings and funerals can continue with 200 inside, and 400 outside.
Trade fairs can reopen.
All restrictions on markets, fairs, flea markets will be lifted.
From then on, it will be possible to organise larger events, such as festivals, outside again, according to De Croo. “The participants will have to have proof of vaccination or a negative test.”
The final step of the “summer plan” will take effect at the start of September, according to De Croo, who added that 70% of the adult population should be fully vaccinated by then.
From then on, the plan is to lift all restrictions for worship ceremonies, weddings and funerals, as well as for youth activities and camps.
“The idea is to lift the restrictions as much as possible from then on,” he said. “1 September is not only the start of a new school year, but also the day on which we can once again allow our social life to flourish.”