Saturday

8th May 2021

Belgium to reopen borders, terraces and hairdressers

  • From 19 April, travel to and from Belgium will be possible again for non-essential trips (Photo: Valentina Pop)

Belgium has decided to ease its coronavirus measures in the weeks to come, notably the reopening of the country's borders and cafe and restaurant terraces.

"We have chosen for a prudent but realistic opening", Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo said in a press conference on Wednesday (14 April) on the advice of the Belgian Consultative Committee, adding "we haven't received much good news from the hospitals, where more young people are in intensive care."

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  • 'We have chosen for a prudent but realistic opening', Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo said in a press conference (Photo: premier.fed.be)

De Croo also warned that the country is not fighting the same virus as during the first and second wave anymore, but one that is much more aggressive and contagious.

However, the so-called reproduction number has gone below one, which means that one infected person on average infects one person or less - a signal that the third wave is over.

On Monday (19 April) the schools will reopen for children up to 14-years old. For youngsters between 14 and 18, part-time education will be possible at the schools, the other half at home.

Non-essential travel will be possible again, with the borders reopening from 19 April. However, the police will keep checking travellers have completed the mandatory passenger location form.

Also, the travel to red zones remain prohibited, and those returning from such a zone will need to go into quarantine, whether vaccinated or not.

On 26 April the shops will reopen, without the current necessary appointment, and non-medical 'contact' professions like hairdressers will reopen their doors. It will also be possible to meet with 10 people outside instead of the current four.

"The other phases will depend on vaccination and responsibility of the citizens," De Croo said, adding that "if the numbers in the hospitals keep on going into the right direction, and seven-out-of-ten people older than 65 are vaccinated, the following measures are on the agenda too."

On 8 May bars and restaurants can reopen their terraces. The curfew will largely disappear, but it will still be prohibited to gather outside with more than three people from midnight until 5 AM.

It will be possible to invite two people from the same family at home. Also cultural and religious activities will be allowed outside, with a maximum of 50 attendees.

Pilot projects will be started on inside cultural activities.

If all people over 65 have been vaccinated, and the numbers of hospitalised people dropped significantly, in June it will be possible to have indoor cultural activities, indoor sport and fitness.

There is also the hope that in June indoor seating in bars and restaurants will be allowed too.

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