17th Oct 2021

Belgium outlines summer Covid relaxation plans

  • The Belgian government announced a "broad summer plan" with four steps for easing restrictions. By 1 September most measures should be lifted (Photo: EUobserver)

Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo announced on Wednesday (11 May) a plan to relax over the summer the measures taken to stop coronavirus.

"The [Consultation] Committee has been able to establish a broad summer plan," said De Croo on a press conference. "The plan is based on two pillars: the first is vaccination, which is going extremely well," he said. "And the second is, of course, the situation in intensive care."

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"Four-out-of-10 adult Belgians have already received their first vaccine dose. And the campaign will also accelerate," De Croo said, adding that "in the coming weeks, there will be weeks were almost a million people will be vaccinated."

From 9 June

The first phase of the plan starts on 9 June, the moment at which all vulnerable people are expected to have been vaccinated.

On that day the restaurants will be able to serve food inside from 8AM until 10PM. Terraces will be open until 11.30PM instead of the current 10PM.

It will be allowed to invite four people at home. Also cinemas, fitness centres and theatres will be able to open their doors.

Also from the 9 June, it will be possible to work in the office for one day a week.

Indoor events can be organised for a maximum of 200 people, seated at appropriate distances with face masks. Outdoor events can host 400 people with face masks.

Religious services can be held with 100 people inside, or 200 people outside.

From 1 July

If the numbers of vaccinations and hospitalisations progresses in a positive way, new relaxations will be possible from the 1 July.

Working at home will not longer be mandatory, but only recommended.

Events indoors can host up to 2,000 people, outdoors up to 2,500 people.

From 30 July these numbers can go up to 3,000 and 5,000 respectively, while from 13 August these numbers will possibly be higher, if people can proof they are vaccinated or tested negatively.

According to De Croo, from September 1 the corona restrictions should mostly disappear.

What about travelling?

It appeared no decision has been taken yet about the relaxation of travel restrictions from 1 July onwards.

Apparently, the health ministry still needs to make a list of 'green countries' and needs to consult with the European Commission.

One major question is if the EU travel certification system will be ready and implemented before the summer holidays of many families start.

De Croo called on the population living in Belgium to get vaccinated.

"With 90 percent of the people older than 65 vaccinated, we are at the top of Europe. However vaccinating is in the first place a matter of solidarity," he said.

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