Foto: Belga

Bars and restaurants to close, a night curfew and just 1 "close" social contact from Monday

After a meeting lasting some five hours the Consultative Committee that is made up of representatives of Belgium’s federal, regional and language community governments has decided on a number of extra measures to curb the further spread of the novel coronavirus in Belgium. The measures come on top of the other measures that are already in force. 

From Monday all bars, restaurants and cafés across Belgium will be forced to close for a period of one month. The length of the enforced closure will be reassessed in two weeks’ time.  As during the lockdown in the spring those in the hospitality industry will receive a grant from the state to compensate them for at least some of the losses incurred due to the enforced closure. Bars in hotels will be open for hotel guests only. 

Take away meals may be served and collected until 10pm.  A ban on the sale of alcoholic drinks will be in force from 8pm every day from Monday. Night shops must close at 10pm.

Food markets and small travelling fun fairs at which no more than 200 people attend will be allowed. However, Christmas markets and other larger event will not be allowed to take place.

A night curfew like the ones already in force in Walloon Brabant and Luxembourg Province will come into force across the entire country. With the exception of those with a valid reason (travelling to or from work, urgent medical reasons, force majeure…) no one will be allowed to leave their home between midnight and 5am.

Home working will be mandatory for all those that can work from home.  Employers must take every possible measure to ensure the safety at the workplace of those that are unable to work from home.  

Cultural and sporting events for which safety protocols are in place will be allowed to continue opperating under the conditions of these protocols for at least another week. All other events will be limitted to just 40 spectators.  40 is also the limit for the number of people allowed to attend funeral wakes. 

The number of people from outside our respective homes with whom we are allowed so called “close contact” (no social distancing, embracing, physical contact, etc..) will be reduced from three persons over the age of 12 currently to just one.

The number of people we are allowed to invite into our homes, for example for a meal, a drink or to watch a film, football match or other sporting evening on TV will be kept at 4. These 4 people must remain the same for a period of at least 2 weeks. However, social distancing, the wearing of face masks and other preventative rules to arrest the spread of the virus should be upheld throughout any such visits. 

De Croo “We all know someone that is in quarantine or has become ill”

At the start of the press conference the Federal Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Flemish Liberal) explained that extra measures were required as there is great pressure on our country’s hospitals and medical staff.

He added that the big difference between now and the situation in March is that the virus is much closer to us all. We all know someone that is in quarantine or has become very ill.

The Prime Minister went on to say that the aim of the measures is to reduce the number of our social contacts. The measures are being taken to prevent worse from happening. Mr De Croo thanked those that had made an effort to uphold the measures that were already in force.  

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