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First stage of Belgium’s summer plan: what changes today?

Credit: Belga/Pixabay/Pexels

Starting from today, dozens of coronavirus rules are being relaxed as part of the first stage of Belgium’s “summer plan,” as approved by the latest Consultative Committee.

Ranging from the hospitality industry to face masks, here is an overview of the final measures that will apply from today until at least 30 June, as published in the Ministerial Decree.

Hospitality industry

Bars, restaurants and all other hospitality businesses are allowed to open their indoor and outdoor areas from 5:00 AM to 11:30 PM.

Clients must be seated, a maximum of four people may sit at one table (not including children under 12), and tables must be at least 1.5m apart. Households with more than four members are also allowed to sit together.

Buffets are allowed, as are parties, receptions and banquets in separate rooms for groups of up to 50 people.

The collective use of shishas is prohibited, but individual use is allowed again. The safety measures, such as wearing face masks and respecting social distancing, must also be respected here.

Terraces must be completely open on at least one side, and CO2 meters are compulsory indoors. The guideline standard for air quality is 900 ppm CO2. Between 900 and 1200 ppm, the proprietor must take compensatory measures. Above 1200 ppm, the business must close immediately.

Culture, events, performances and congresses

A seated audience of maximum 200 people is allowed indoors, and 400 people outside. They may only take place during the same hours as the hospitality industry can be open, meaning between 5:00 AM and 11:30 PM.

Following the same rules, large screens to watch the European Football Championship are also allowed. All safety measures, masks and social distance, must be respected.

Cinemas, bowling alleys, casinos, betting shops, indoor activities in nature parks, zoos, amusement parks, indoor recreation and tropical swimming pools can reopen with ventilation protocols, for a maximum of 75% of their capacity, with a maximum of 200 people. All measures must be respected.

Night clubs have to remain closed for the time being.

Markets, annual fairs, flea markets and funfairs may take place, but only if the local authority gives permission. A maximum of one visitor per 1.5 running metres is allowed on each side of the stall or attraction.

For markets and fairs, there must be separate entrances and exits, and one-way traffic applies. Social distances must be respected and groups of visitors can not be larger than four people, unless it concerns the same household.

Sports

Professional sports competitions and professional sports training can take place without any limitation on the number of participants.

For non-professional sports competitions and non-professional sports training, there is a maximum of 50 persons indoors, and 100 persons outdoors. Changing rooms and showers remain closed.

Group activities of clubs or associations are allowed with a maximum of 50 persons per group until 24 June, and 100 persons per group from 25 June.

An adult trainer or supervisor must always be present, and is not counted in the group total. Until 24 June, activities may only take place without an overnight stay.

Fitness centres are allowed to open again, but a CO2 meter is mandatory. Shared changing rooms and showers remain closed for the time being, and a face mask is required before and after exercising.

Public saunas, jacuzzis, steam rooms and hammams are allowed to reopen.

Work

In general, teleworking remains compulsory, but staff who wish to do so may work in the office again one day a week. However, no more than 20% of the staff may be present, and all safety measures must be respected.

For SMEs with fewer than 10 employees, a maximum of five people are allowed to be present at the same time.

Door-to-door sales are allowed again, as are the activities of sex workers.

Night shops will again be allowed to stay open until 11:30 PM, and the general ban on the sale of alcohol between 10:00 PM and 5:00 AM is lifted.

Social activities

Each household can receive a maximum of four people at the same time inside the house, not counting children up to and including 12 years of age.

For weddings, funerals, cremations and religious services, a maximum of 100 people are allowed to assemble in a room provided for that purpose, not counting children under 12 years old, the official and the minister of worship.

When visiting a cemetery or if the services take place outside, the maximum number is increased to 200. The hygiene measures, however, must be observed at all times. Physical touching is prohibited, except between members of the same household or bubble.

Family shopping is allowed again, with no time limit. People who do not form a family must limit themselves to a group of two, not counting children under twelve.

Gatherings of more than four people are prohibited in public areas between midnight and 5:00 AM, not counting children under 12. During the day (between 5:00 AM and midnight), that number is increased to a maximum of ten people.

However, on private property, such as in a garden, people are allowed to gather with groups of up to 50 people.

Manifestations and demonstrations are allowed for up to 200 people (dynamic) or 400 (static), following a previously agreed route, if they have been authorised by the local authorities. Social distancing must be respected.

Face masks

Across the Brussels-Capital Region, the general obligation to wear a face mask when in public is lifted, except for in busy shopping streets and crowded areas that are indicated by the different mayors. More info can be found here.

Travel and events

The Ministerial Decree does not yet include any changes regarding travel and major events, as those rules will not apply in June yet.

The rules for travel will change on 1 July, when the ‘Digital Covid Certificate’ for travel within the EU comes into force, and the rules for major events will only apply from 13 August.

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