The governments (yes plural) of Belgium have announced even tighter coronavirus countermeasures. It’s a second lockdown, new Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Open Vld) said.
As of midnight, between Sunday and Monday, shops selling non-essential goods close. The measures will remain in force in the entire kingdom for six weeks.
Since the new government took over on October 1st, the National Security Council has been in disuse. Now decisions are made by the Consultative Committee (NL: Overlegcomité, FR: Conseil de censertation). This is a meeting of the federal government (Belgium) and the language community governments: Flanders and Wallonia.
- The half term school holidays – Herfstweek or Vacances de la Toussaint – that began Friday evening will be extended to last two full weeks and will end on Sunday 15 November, Dynasty Day.
- After the school holidays the pupils in the second and third grade of secondary school (from the third year of secondary school) will be taught for 50% by distance, online, learning and 50% by contact education.
- In higher education all lectures will be given by distance learning methods until the end of the year. The exceptions to this are first year students that will have some face to face teaching from 1 December and practical lectures such as lab work.
- All shops selling non-essential goods will have to close. As in Spring Lockdown, shops selling food, pharmacies, newsagenyts and several other categories ca remain open.
- Large supermarkets that sell a range of non-food goods, for example clothes and electrical goods, will be restricted in what they can sell. This is to prevent unfair competition.
- Those that wish to an order goods from shops selling non-essential goods can do so and have them delivered or go and collect them themselves. The ban on shops selling non-essential goods will be reassessed by Tuesday 1 December at the latest.
- So-called ‘non-medical contact professions’, hairdressers, barbers, nail bars, beauticians… will be forced to close for as long as the measures are in force.
- Bars and restaurants in hotels will be forced to close as well. Hotel guest may only consume food in their rooms.
- From Tuesday 3 November all holiday parks will have to close.
Households are allowed less contacts with other households. But the so-called ‘cuddle contact’ (NL: knuffelcontact, FR: contact rapproché) is kept. The one person outside your household you can touch and kiss and – yes – f*ck.
Each family member is allowed one cuddle contact each.
People living on their own (one person households) may have a second person that they can welcome into their home. Though social distancing must be maintained or face masks worn. Both in the case of families and those that live alone just one visitor at once is allowed.
The ‘rule of four’ remains in force for those meeting friends or extended family outside in the open air, for example to go for a walk or cycle ride. Standard measures regarding social distancing and face masks must be observed throughout.
Telework or working from instead of at the office will be mandatory where this is possible. Where this is not possible employers must ensure that their employees can work safely.
This means that social distancing, the rules regarding face masks and every possible other measure must be taken to prevent the virus from spreading.
Curfew remains in force
The curfew currently in force will remain so for the duration of the lockdown. In Flanders that is from midnight to 5AM, in Brussels and Wallonia from 10PM to 6AM.
Borders remain open
There’s no ban on non-essential outings or journeys. Borders remain open. But the new measures are designed to deter you to travel. Why go outside if shops, bars, restaurants, gyms etc are closed?
Source: VRT NWS