Flemish minister Hilde Crevits is open to an extension of the use of the Covid Safe Ticket to some situations, but does not support a full extension of its application, she told the VRT on Sunday.
Crevits (CD&V) is minister for work, economy, social economy and innovation, but on this occasion she was speaking in her capacity as deputy minister-president of the region.
Earlier in the week, the federal government with the regions agreed the regions should have autonomy in deciding for themselves where the pass should be implemented – for example for entry into bars, restaurants and nightclubs.
The Brussels government is currently working out its plan. In the meantime, it has now become clear that Flanders will make some changes but step back from a rigid application in all cases.
The N-VA, represented by minister-president Jan Jambon, has already made its position clear on the more liberal side. Now two ministers-president – Crevits and Bart Somers (Open VLD) have come down on the same side, the die would appear to be cast.
“I think it’s good that we’re having the discussion for places where very few people are vaccinated,” Crevits said on the Sunday afternoon politics flagship De zevende dag.
“In many places, 90 or 95 % of people have been vaccinated. You have to be able to give back total freedom to some extent.”
According to the latest figures from the health institute Sciensano at the weekend, 90% of adults in Flanders have received two doses of vaccine, and 78% of the total population. That compares with 79% in Wallonia and only 63% in Brussels.
On a municipal level, the region is almost entirely dark blue, signifying a vaccination rate of more than 80%, with the exception of the city of Antwerp, Komen-Waasten on the border with Wallonia and several communes in the Brussels periphery.
Nonetheless, even those municipalities trailing behind still manage to achieve rates in the mid- to high seventies. Vilvoorde, for example, is at 76.4%, while neighbouring Brussels-City lags far behind on 55.7%.
“There are two options,” Crevits said.
“Either we make it possible in general in Flanders to request a corona pass, or we propose it specifically in those places where the vaccination rate is too low.”
But she acknowledged the neighbouring regions do present a problem.
“If you introduce the corona pass in Brussels, you may have a big problem in the surrounding area [of Flanders]. It would be easy to party as a non-vaccinated person there,” she said.