Consultative Committee expected to discuss telework and state of emergency

Consultative Committee expected to discuss telework and state of emergency
Credit: Belga

On Tuesday afternoon, Belgium's Consultative Committee will be meeting earlier than expected to discuss the worsening epidemiological situation.

It was announced the meeting would be brought forward from Friday following an emergency meeting of Belgium’s Council of Ministers on Monday, called by Prime Minister Alexander De Croo to discuss how the federal government can tackle the worsening situation.

Following the meeting, which will begin at 4:30 PM, a press conference will be held, De Croo's spokesperson confirmed to The Brussels Times.

The meeting will be held digitally and will focus mainly on re-implementing coronavirus measures, including reintroducing the wider use of face masks in indoor areas such as in shops.

In Wallonia and Brussels, these measures were never relaxed, meaning the face mask rules are only really expected to be changed in Flanders, where they relaxed rules earlier this month.

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The federal government is also in favour of expanding the use of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) across the whole of Belgium, mostly for slightly smaller events of more than 50 people.

So far, this has already been rolled out in Brussels, where it is required to enter bars, restaurants and gyms, among other places, and will be introduced in Wallonia starting next Monday. In Flanders, the CST is only required for events with more than 500 people.

It's also possible that teleworking will once again be strongly encouraged in order to lower the number of close contacts people have on a daily basis.

To implement these measures legally and for a duration of three months, the government will be discussing activating the pandemic law. In order to activate this law, a state of epidemiological emergency must first be declared. This is one reason why the Consultative Committee is meeting earlier, according to reports from De Morgen.

De Croo has already ruled out the possibility of closing any sectors for now, or initiating another lockdown. This was confirmed on Tuesday morning by Minister for Civil Services and Public Enterprises, Petra De Sutter.

"It is not the previous emergency we've known," De Sutter said, referring to those lockdowns.

"It is an epidemic emergency. That means that the federal phase is going to be extended and that we are going to propose a number of measures for the entire country from the federal level," she told Radio 1.

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