Share article:
Share article:

Covid-19: Is this the end of the cuddle contact?

Annelies Verlinden, minister of home affairs. © Belga

June 9 will see not only the opening of bars and restaurants indoors, but also the end of restrictions on who we may kiss and cuddle, according to the Flemish newspapers.

The conclusion is based on a provisional draft of the ministerial decree being prepared by the office of federal home affairs minister Annelies Verlinden (CD&V), which will contain the new measures to come into effect from 9 June.

The measure limiting the number of long-term close contacts no longer applies,” the draft notes.

But that doesn’t mean all barriers are down, apparently.

The rule on cuddle contacts will be replaced by the rule of four,” said a spokesperson for Verlinden’s office. In other words, groups in public are limited to four as they would be at a restaurant table, excepting children and unless they are all of the same household.

No rule, however, as to who those four people can be, according to the office of Flemish minister-president Jan Jambon (N-VA), where they also confirmed that “the term ‘cuddle contact will be allowed to drop.”

According to infectious disease expert Erika Vlieghe, who chairs the Covid management committee GEMS, this change in the rules is not something picked up at the initiative of the experts. And she would like some clarification.

The politicians will have to explain it themselves. We have certainly not written this in our advice,” she said.

Verlinden, meanwhile, addressed the question of what the rules will be for gatherings in private homes – where aside from some parties involving huge numbers, very few police interventions have taken place even when stricter rules were in place.

The Consultative Committee decided to return the responsibility to the people for contacts at home,” she said. “We now all know what to do to deal with corona safely, and that certainly also applies to contacts at home.”

Pedro Facon, chair of the Corona Commission, backed her up, with one caveat.

The Commission can support this view, also in the knowledge that it makes little difference to citizens whether or not something is included in a ministerial decree or the Official Gazette. However it is not because something is no longer prohibited that it is mandatory or wise to do.”

Latest news

Increase in number of people ‘asking King for mercy’ through royal pardons
More and more people living in Belgium have been seeking royal pardons, mainly for fines, largely as a result of it now being possible to send in ...
England now accepting cheaper Covid tests from fully vaccinated travellers
Fully vaccinated travellers who enter England from non-red countries will only be required to book a lateral flow test to take following their ...
Re-introducing face masks indoors considered as Covid-19 situation worsens
Belgium's council of ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the worsening epidemiological situation, and reintroducing face ...
Federal museums to receive €2.9 million booster shot
Federal museums will receive an additional €2.9 million in support from the government for the fiscal year 2021, of which the first payouts will be ...
European Parliament emphasises healthy food and animal welfare in EU Farm to Fork Strategy
The European Parliament adopted this week a resolution on the EU Farm to Fork Strategy calling for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food ...
Threats of strike action could affect Brussels’ STIB network from Monday
Brussels public transport operator STIB's trams, buses and metros could be affected from Monday 25 October onwards as the union representing the ...
Number of international adoptions in Belgium continues to drop
The number of regulated international adoptions authorised by Belgium further dropped in 2020, continuing an ongoing decreasing trend. Last ...
Disaster drill with emergency services held at Brussels Airport
Around 300 people took part in a disaster drill held was organised on Saturday by Brussels Airport in collaboration with external emergency services ...
Austria presents bill to legalise euthanasia
Austria’s government on Saturday presented its proposals for legalising assisted suicide, in response to a Constitutional Court ruling that the ...
Brussels’ Museum Night Fever draws in some 12,000 visitors
Some 12,000 participants took part in the 14th edition of Museum Night Fever in Brussels, with the 29 participating museums filled to the maximum ...
Relaunch of 10,000 steps campaign to get Flemish people moving
The Flemish government is breathing new life into its 10,000 steps campaign to get people in the region moving after a recent survey found that a ...
‘No scientific basis’ for giving everyone third dose, vaccine expert says
The head of Belgium's Vaccination Taskforce has argued that there is not enough scientific evidence to support the Flemish government's decision to ...