Belgium’s corona tsar: Postpone re-opening horeca until after May 1
Share article:
Share article:

Belgium’s corona tsar: Postpone re-opening horeca until after May 1

© Belga

The meeting of the Consultative Committee scheduled for this coming Wednesday should decide to postpone the re-opening of the horeca industry – hotels, restaurants and cafes – until after the May 1 deadline the committee previously suggested, according to the head of the coronavirus task force, Pedro Facon.

May 1 was set as a tentative date for the industry to re-open, at a time when it looked as if the figures for the epidemic were moving in the wrong direction to allow a fixed deadline. At the same time, an industry that has been closed down now for five months was in desperate need of assurances that the end might be near.

We had better not move too fast,” Facon told De Tijd in an interview on Saturday.

By that time, non-essential shops should be open again, and the nation’s children be back at school after the so-called ‘Easter pause’. A decision is awaited for hairdressers and other non-medical contact professions, which were allowed to open and then closed down again in short order.

Related News


With those relaxed measures already in place, caution would demand waiting before opening the horeca sector, Facon told the paper.

Epidemiologically speaking, we should include a three-week rest period after implementing relaxations so that we can estimate their impact,” he said. “Mid-May would be better than May 1.”

But mid-May is already the provisional deadline for a whole series of other relaxations of restrictions. The cultural and events sectors are hoping for a lifeline, and people in general hope for some more flexibility in social contacts.

Reopening the catering industry as well as relaxing the rules for other indoor activities is too much of a good thing. It would be better to split them up.”

But if his advice is accepted by the committee, that would mean postponing the latest relaxations to mid-June. But there are risks to doing too much too soon.

If we relax too quickly and too much at the same time, there is a risk of a fourth wave in May and June,” he said.

But all is not bleak.

“The vaccinations will have a major impact on the number of infections and hospital admissions. The most vulnerable will be protected from mid-June. Then we are in a different scenario, even if not everyone has been vaccinated yet.”

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

New Belgian video game aims to help children who stutter
A new video game by Belgian-American start-up Say It Labs aims to teach children with a stutter various techniques to improve their speech.  ...
More than 1 in 4 Belgians use mobile phones whilst driving
A recent European study into the use of mobile phones whilst driving highlights some alarming results: 26% of Belgians read or send messages on their ...
Belgium in Brief: Memories Of Masks
Belgium's experts are concerned with the rising coronavirus figures. One possible solution could be that, once again, masks are used more widely. ...
Museum Nights Fever returns to Brussels on Saturday night
After a break last year, Museum Nights Fever 2021 is back again with free visits to 32 museums hosting performances, music and other events. The ...
More than €1.5 billion injected into SNCB
More than €1.5 billion in additional funding has been injected into the Belgian railways, Federal Mobility Minister Georges Gilkinet told the House ...
Non-vaccinated applicants no longer welcome at ZNA hospitals in Antwerp
The Antwerp hospital group ZNA is only taking on new employees who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to reporting from VRT. ...
Pharmacies prepare to administer more rapid antigen tests
From November, anyone presenting coronavirus symptoms for less than six days will be able to take a rapid antigen test in a pharmacy, announced the ...
Chocolate, Christmas, and cocaine
Do you consider yourself a news buff? Someone constantly on top of what's going on? Then maybe you have what it takes to ace The Brussels Times ...
Introduction of Covid Safe Ticket leads more in Brussels to get vaccinated
The introduction of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) in the Brussels-Capital Region on 15 October seems to have led to a higher number of residents ...
More and more testimonies, and a second rally against sexual violence in Brussels
A second rally against sexual violence was held in the Brussels neighbourhood of Ixelles on Thursday evening, and a sister-rally was held ...
Over 1,000 Covid-19 hospitalisations for first time since early June
The number of patients hospitalised in Belgium as a result of the coronavirus has again exceeded 1,000, climbing to 1,032, according to figures ...
Experts call for more widespread use of masks as figures rise
As coronavirus figures continue to rise, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has suggested that people return to wearing masks when indoors with ...