Belgium’s Vooruit party is calling on the country to make it possible to use a Covid Safe Ticket (CST), commonly referred to as a Covid pass, for weddings and events like staff parties.
The CST will be rolled out in the country at the beginning of this weekend, and will be required for people attending large (1,500 people or more) outdoor events.
But the Vooruit party chairman Conner Rousseau thinks that smaller events should also make use of the pass, according to De Standaard, and he’s calling for broader use of the CST app in order to facilitate it.
“I have organised a test event myself with the [Covid Safe App],” Rousseau told De Standaard.
“That went very well and my inbox is now full of messages from other initiators who also want to organise something with the corona pass, but are not allowed to, because they are too small. That is a pity - if something works on a larger scale, why not also use it on a smaller one?”
To obtain a CST, a person is required to provide proof of vaccination (with at least two weeks having passed since full vaccination), a negative PCR test from the past 48 hours or a recovery certificate.
That CST can be managed by event organisers in the Covid Safe App.
“Through registrations, it should be possible for smaller organisers to create an account for private parties, such as weddings or company parties with a hundred people in attendance,” said Rousseau.
“In that case, the organisers should make sure that a hundred people are actually scanned, so that there is a check on correct use.”
Rousseau said this would be a temporary use.
“I'm not an epidemiologist, but I hear that it could lead to a lot of misery if we were to immediately abandon all measures in September,” he said.
“As long as the delta variant is still circulating here, it’s a small effort to make use of it. We now have a good instrument to obtain more freedom, let's not be silly about it, and let’s make the best of it.”
The notion of using a CST for private gatherings was immediately met with resistance from the Liberals.
Open VLD called it a “dangerous slippery slope.”
Rousseau emphasised that its use would be for formal events and not gaining access to restaurants or cafés, but the idea still ruffled feathers.
For French-speaking Belgium, the MR party has resisted a mass roll-out of the CST, and the Flemish Liberals, including Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, have also expressed fears of a “pass society.”
“The speed with which Vooruit wants to do this creates a dangerous slippery slope,” Open VLD chairman Egbert Lachaert told De Standaard.
“Before you know it, we will be in the French or Italian situation where you have to show your pass and papers for a coffee on a terrace. As a liberal, I really want to avoid that. Introducing such things is easy, but getting them out again is something else.”
Lachaert also stressed that the Belgian vaccination campaign is going well, and said it would be better to stick to the current strategy and then relax it further.
Back in May, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sophie Wilmès also said that any Covid pass should remain a “temporary and exceptional” document.
The Brussels Times