You’ll need your Covid Safe Ticket (CST) if you want to dine at a restaurant or have a beer at a bar in Brussels starting Friday 15 October. It’s a consequence of the general low take-up of the vaccine in the capital. The CST, the Belgian version of the EU Digital Corona Certificate, is available via the CovidSafeBE app and will have to be presented in the entire Brussels Region in indoor hospitality, at sports events and all indoor events grouping more than 50 people. The CST is required at outdoor sports events with over 200 participants.
The CST allows you to prove you are fully vaccinated, have antibodies due to recent illness or recently tested negative.
Brussels health minister Maron says the measure needs to be respected as soon as possible. Fines won’t be meted out immediately, but in time people flouting the rules risk fines of between 50 and 500 euros.
Mr Maron insists that increasing vaccination rates is the top priority. The CST is needed to keep things safe.
Vaccination rates in Brussels are particularly low. Only 45% of people in the 18 to 24 age category are fully vaccinated. Mr Maron explains Brussels is the world’s third most cosmopolitan city. A third of its inhabitants live on or below the poverty line. A third of Brusselers hold a second, foreign passport. Up to 5% of residents have been vaccinated abroad.
The health minister concedes he has no ready answer to explain why the Brussels authorities have failed to get through to young people: “If I had the solution, then we would have implemented it.”
Mr Maron and by extension the entire Brussels government are accused of a lack of vigour when it comes to tackling the corona crisis. It’s an accusation the Francophone green politician rejects. He believes the solution lies in entering neighbourhoods and convincing as many people as possible to get jabbed.
The health minister adds that the situation in Brussels is no longer deteriorating, but improving.