Enforced closure for night clubs and 11pm closing time for bars
The Consultative Committee that is made up of representatives of Belgium’s federal, regional and language community governments has decided on new measures to attempt to curb the further spread of coronavirus and reduce the pressure on the country’s hospitals. The Consultative Committee wasn’t due to meet again until mid-January. However, the intensity of the fourth wave of the pandemic has meant that the meeting was brought forwarded.
Just 9 days since its last meeting the Consultative Committee met again on Friday morning. The meeting between ministers from the federal, regional and language community governments took place digitally through an online meeting application.
A number of measures have been decided, the aim of which is to reduce the level of social contact between individuals. For the next few weeks private parties will be banned. The only exceptions to this are wedding receptions and funeral wake gatherings. The same rules as those that apply to the hospitality industry will be applicable if a professional caterer is used to provide the food and drink.
There will be no limit on the number of people that we can welcome into our homes.
After having only reopened less than two months ago night clubs and discotheques will be forced to close again during the coming weeks.
Bars, cafés and restaurants will have their opening hours restricted. They will be forced to close between the hours of 11pm and 5am. The number of people that are allowed to sit around the same table at a hospitality outlets will be restricted to six. Groups number more than six that are from the same household will be allowed to sit at the same table.
Night shops too will have to close at 11pm.
These measures will come into force from tomorrow (Saturday 27 November).
From Monday all activities that take place indoors (concerts, films, conferences, plays,...) will only be allowed if spectators remain seated throughout.
Indoor sports activities will have to take place without spectators. The only exception to this are the parents of minors that are competing in an indoor sports match.
On Saturday a meeting of the Inter-Ministerial Conference will decide whether the country’s teachers will be given priority when it comes to being given a booster vaccine against coronavirus. The Conference will also decide whether the testing strategy in schools should be modified. This would mean that those that have been vaccinated would only have to take a coronavirus test 5 days after having had a high-risk contact. Until then they would have to self-isolate.
"Limit your contacts, follow the rules"
At the press conference that followed the meeting the Federal Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Flemish liberal, photo above) stressed the importance of limiting the number of contacts we have with others in the effort to reduce the number of coronavirus infections. Mr De Croo added that it is always safest to meet up outside in the fresh air particularly if the person you are meeting is elderly and/or vulnerable.
The Federal PM also stressed the importance of coronavirus self-tests. These are available both at pharmacies and in supermarkets.
Mr De Croo concluded by saying that ventilation is also of the essence particularly when entertaining guests in our homes.