Police won’t be carrying out door to door checks on Christmas dinner guest restrictions

The Federal Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden (Flemish Christian democrat) has told VRT News that the police won’t be carrying out systematic door tot door checks to ensure that people don’t have more guests in their home than they are allowed to during the Christmas and New Year period. Ms Verlinden was speaking in an interview with VRT Radio 1’s morning news and current affairs programme ‘De ochtend’. 

On Friday the Consultative Committee that is made up of representatives of Belgium’s federal, regional and language community governments decided to extend the restrictions on number of people we may invite into our homes until 15 January 2021. The only exceptions to this are people that live alone who will be allowed to invite both their “cuddle contact” and their second contact (with whom the maintain social distancing) simultaneously on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day if they so wish. Other households will be limited to just one guest.

Ms Verlinden told ‘De ochtend’ that “It certainly isn’t the case that the police will systemically start ringing doorbells during the festive season”.

The Interior Minister stressed that the police will continue their checks on lockdown parties. “Police have carried out checks at a number of such parties. If it is discovered that there is indeed too much noise or that a whole group of people are together in a far too confined space the police will act”.  

We have been told to celebrate Christmas and the New Year indoors with our (nuclear) family or housemates. The rule of four remains in force for outdoor activities. Some people are thinking of creative solutions to allow them to invite more family and friends than their one “cuddle contact”. However, “It is true that you can still meet up with four people outside, but if they first have to go though an inside space to get there you can’t”.

This means that only if you have a front garden or can access your back garden without the need to go through your house or flat will you be able to invite 4 people for al fresco drinks or a winter barbecue. There would also be an issue if they needed to use the toilet unless you have an outside WC accessible directly from the garden.

"Of course, I understand that not everyone is fortunate enough to have a garden or a terrace that is big enough because it is of course the case that social distancing must be upheld. So, this is not something everyone will be able to do", Ms Verlinden concluded.  

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