Wednesday

8th Jul 2020

Coronavirus

Belgium re-opens, with restrictions, on 8 June

  • Belgian prime minister Sophie Wilmès announced the reopening of the country's social life after almost three months of lockdown (Photo: premier.be)

The Belgian government announced on Wednesday (3 June) that from next Monday (8 June) the lockdown will be over and that parts of normal life can largely be resumed.

During a press conference, Belgian prime minister Sophie Wilmès said that until now "everything was forbidden, except a few things".

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From 8 June that adage will change into "everything is allowed, except for a few things", she said, adding that the starting point of the new rules are individual liberty.

Although the social distancing and the hygienic rules remain in place, people will be able to meet with 10 different people each week, outside their own family. This is now called "the extended bubble".

People can meet in groups too, but these groups should not be larger than 10, children included.

People can go back to work, under restrictions to be discussed between each sector and the government, although teleworking remains recommended.

But probably the news everyone living in Belgium was waiting for after weeks of sun, was the reopening of bars and restaurants.

Bars, cafés and restaurants will reopen on 8 June on three conditions: tables should have a distance between each other of 1.5 metres, groups of maximum 10 people can sit together and they will be served at the table.

The closing hour for these bars, cafés and restaurants as well as night shops will be 1AM.

Casinos will only reopen on 1 July, while nightclubs and dance venues will remain closed until the end of August.

Cultural activities will be possible, as will be going to the movies, but with serious restrictions.

Sport clubs will reopen, as will fitness clubs, but not swimming pools or wellness centres.

For all international citizens in Brussels, Wilmès kept the most important news for the end. From 15 June, traveling to and from all EU countries, Schengen countries and the UK will be possible - at least if those countries agree.

Wilmès also called for more European concerted effort on the matter of intra-European traveling, adding everyone should remain vigilant.

Wilmès becomes first female PM of Belgium

On Sunday, Sophie Wilmès was appointed as the new prime minister of Belgium - becoming the first female head of government in the country's history. She replaces Charles Michel who becomes president of the European Council.

Agenda

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"Freedom is the rule," in Belgium, the EU institutions' home, from Monday, when bars and cafes reopen. But 90 percent of EU talks - on economic rescues and Africa diplomacy - to stay online.

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