Shops selling “non-essential goods” to be allowed to reopen under strict conditions from Tuesday

The Consultative Committee that is made up of representatives of Belgium’s federal, regional and language community government has agreed that shops selling so-called “non-essential” goods will be able to reopen again from Tuesday. For the past four weeks shops selling items such as clothing, shoes, toys and electrical goods have been forced close as part of the measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. Shops selling mainly “essential” goods that also have some “non-essential” item in their range have had to seal of the shelves containing the non-essential items since the measures came into force on 2 November. 

This will change on Tuesday 1st December and will no doubt come as a relieve to those wishing to buy Christmas decoration or a gift for the Feast of Saint Nicholas that is on Sunday week. Although non-essential goods will be allowed to be sold in shops again, the so-called “non-medical contact professions such as barbers, hairdressers and beauticians will have to remain closed.

The Consultative Committee has agreed that the same conditions will be imposed on the shops as those that were in force after the spring lockdown was first relaxed in early May. These conditions are:

·        You will have to shop alone unless you or the person you are with absolutely needs assistance to help them to be able to shop.

·        You will only be allowed to spend a maximum of 30 minutes in any one shop. If you think you need more time you will need to make an appointment.

·        Only 1 customer per 10m² of shop floorspace.

·        Shops must manage the queues inside and outside of their premises.

·        Disinfectant gel must be available, and customers must wear face covering masks at all times.

·        Crowds in shopping streets must be managed with the upmost care. It will be up to municipal authorities to ensure that this is done correctly. One-way systems and stewards are two of the options open to them. 

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