When and where can we get rid of face masks? Flanders going further than Brussels

Flanders will ditch mouth masks in restaurants, pubs and shops as from 1 October. This was decided by ministers from the national level and the different regional  authorities in Belgium in a new Consultative Committee. The Flemish relaxations are a bridge too far for Brussels, where the vaccination rate is still a lot lower. 

  • It will no longer be necessary to wear a face covering in shops, shopping malls or in cafés, pubs or restaurants. Both customers and staff will be exempt from this obligation, at least in Flanders, as from 1 October. The obligation to wear a mouth mask in the above-mentioned places will still apply in Brussels. Each region has the authority to decide by itself whether or not it upholds the restrictions.
  • Flanders is also lifiting the obligation to wear a face covering at work
  • .Face masks will remain mandatory in public transport (on the train, tram, bus, metro and in stations), in care homes and hospitals, and for professions involving a contact-based role such as doctors, beauticians or hairdressers.
  • Events with more than 500 people indoors and over 750 attendants outdoors will also require a mouth mask if there is no Covid Safe Ticket involved.  
  • Discotheques can open again as from 1 October on the condition that they work with a corona passport, the so-called Covid Safe Ticket which proves you have been vaccinated, tested negative or have gone through the disease building natural antibodies. 

Experts have warned politicians not to go too far to avoid a fourth wave. They say the danger hasn't gone completely despite the high vaccination rate. However, Flemish politicians decided that the vaccination rate in Flanders (over 90 percent of the adult population) is high enough now to go ahead with further relaxations. 

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