Sunday, 19 September 2021
There might be a need to extend the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) to certain “extremely specific” sectors, Wallonia’s Vice Minister-President Willy Borsus said on Saturday.
Highlighting the importance of continuing to support the ongoing vaccination effort, “for example in universities or through mobile vaccination,” Borsus stressed that “the vaccination rate in Wallonia, which is now 81% (adults) for the first dose, needs to be increased.”
Social distancing therefore needs to be maintained in Wallonia, including the wearing of face masks. “It is still too early to consider a relaxation in that regard,” he said. “It still needs to be maintained for some time.”
On Friday, the Consultative Committee approved a federal framework that authorises relaxations of face mask mandates from 1 October. However, its application will depend on regional vaccination and transmission rates.
Given its high vaccination rate, Flanders is expected to take full advantage of the authorisation, but not Brussels, which has already announced that the current rules on masks will be maintained. Wallonia’s Government is to announce its decision next week. According to Borsus, it should maintain the status quo on masks.
All three regions can now extend the CST to given sectors. Brussels has already decided to make it a requirement in the hospitality industry. The Flemish Government is not ruling out the idea of extending it in some way either, according to Minister-President Jan Jambon.
In Wallonia, the Francophone liberal MR party is the coalition partner most reticent on such a measure, even if it has already said it can envisage it in a very “targeted” manner for a limited period of time, depending on the figures.
In this regard, the coalition government (MR, the green Ecolo party and the socialist PS party) on Thursday asked for an opinion from the Risk Assessment Group (RAG), as well as the Wallonia-Brussels Federation – mainly for concerts and other cultural events.
“The CST could be extended to extremely specific sectors. It’s too early to say which ones, we’ll have to examine the RAG’s response,” Borsus said, noting that the obligation to consult this expert group stemmed from the cooperation agreement.
The situation in Liège Province, where the infection risk is now as high as in Brussels, is particularly worrisome. Asked whether measures could be limited to given geographical areas, Borsus said this was both technically and legally possible.
The Brussels Times