Relaxation to the rules on hospitality and events, greater clarity on foreign travel

The Consultative Committee that is made up of representatives of Belgium’s Federal, regional and language community governments has announced a number of relaxations to the restrictions that are in force to curb the spread of coronavirus. The measures were announced straight after Friday afternoon’s meeting at a press conference that got underway at 6:15pm. 

From Wednesday 9 June bars and restaurants will be allowed to reopen their inside space to customers again for the first time in almost 8 months. Both the inside and outside areas of hospitality outlets will be allowed to remain open until 11:30pm. 

Currently terraces and (beer) gardens of bars and restaurants have to close at 10pm. Coffee bars and hotels will be pleased to learn that dining and drinking facilities will be able to open from 5am from Wednesday. Currently this is 8am. This is important for their breakfast trade. 

For the time being at least no more than 4 people will be allowed per table at a bar or restaurant. Meanwhile, from next week we will be able to receive up to 4 guests at a time in our homes.

From 13 August large events with up to 75,000 participants will be allowed again. These include festivals such as Tomorrowland and Pukkelpop and the Formula 1 race at Spa-Francorchamps.  

Foreign travel

With the vacation season almost upon us the rules on foreign travel formed a substantial part of what was discussed at Friday afternoon’s meeting. The Consultative Committee decided that people resident in Belgium that return from red zone countries and have been fully immunised against coronavirus for at least two weeks will no longer be obliged to take a coronavirus test or to quarantine on their return. Those that are either not fully immunised or have been so for less than two weeks will still have to take a PCR test on their return. This does not apply to children under the age of 12

During question time in the Federal Parliament on Thursday the Federal Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Flemish liberal) announced that two PCR tests per person will be available free of charge during the summer months for people that are not fully immunised but wish to travel abroad or attend an event such as a music festival where a negative test is a prerequisite to entry. Meanwhile the Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke (Flemish socialist) says that work is currently under way to further increase testing capacity.

The Consultative Committee has also devised an “Emergency Break” procedure to curb the introduction and spread of any new more infectious variants of coronavirus. Those resident here that enter the country from a country or region of the world where such a variant is prevalent will have to quarantine for 10 days. This also applies to people that have been vaccinated. People not resident here that come from “high risk areas” are not welcome to come to Belgium.

Foreigners wishing to come to Belgium this summer will have to have been fully immunised against coronavirus for at least two weeks. For those for whom this isn’t the case a negative PCR test will be required.  

 

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