CORONAVIRUS | Belgians allowed to travel within Schengen Zone from 15 June

The National Security Council of Belgium announced some major relaxation of coronavirus countermeasures from 8 June.

There’s a big shift now. “We started by banning everything”, said Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès (MR). “There was a lockdown. Starting 8 June we will think differently. Freedom is our point of departure. Everything will be possible, except the things that are banned.”

The PM reiterated six individual golden rules:

  1. Hand hygiene is capital: washing hands, no shaking hands.
  2. Organise activities as much as possible outdoors. If that is not possible, make sure the room is ventilated as much as possible.
  3. Take extra precautions with people of risk groups such as the elderly or people with pre-existing health issues.
  4. The 1.5 meter rule still applies, except for members of your household, the infamous bubble or children under the age of 12.
  5. The bubble is extended to ten people.
  6. Ten is a maximum, children included. This is also applicable in parks or restaurants.

Hospitality industry

Bars and restaurants will be able to reopen if social distancing – 1.5m distance between people from different households – and other measures are observed starting 8 June. No more than ten people will be allowed at one table. Bars, restaurants and night shops will be able to remain open till 1AM. Nightclubs remain closed till the end of August.

Religious services too will be able to welcome up to a hundred people starting Monday rising to 200 on 1 July.

Culture and sports

Starting 1 July cinemas and theatres will also be able to reopen. Cultural activities without an audience or crowd may be staged from 8 June onwards.

All sports activities may resume from 8 June. These include training sessions and matches, indoors and outdours. Some restrictions will apply. Training for contact sports like judo, football, wrestling and basketball must be contactless.

Gyms may reopen. Wellness centres and swimming pools remain closed.

Freedom of assembly

Minister of the Interior Pieter De Crem (CD&V) reiterated that it the freedom of assembly, of gathering is restricted. So no, you can’t sit on a bench in the park.

Travel

Starting 8 June trips in Belgium for one or several days are permitted. Starting 15 June the Belgian authorities are allowing trips abroad within the Schengen Zone.

The Schengen Zone comprises Belgium, Austria, Czechia (Czech Republic), Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.

Source: VRT NWS

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