No leisure travel to and from Belgium: these are the rules

From today, 27 January 2021, until 1 March 2021, travel to and from the Kingdom of Belgium is severely restricted. The Ministerial Decree has been published in the Belgian Monitor, Belgium’s Official Journal.

In Belgium, a ministerial decree or ministerial order (Dutch: ministerieel besluit, French: arrêté ministériel) is a decision of a minister of the federal government. The Belgian Constitution stipulates that the King of the Belgians, in practice the federal government as a whole, is responsible for the execution of laws adopted by the federal parliament. This is done by royal order. For more detailed measures, the minister responsible can act alone by ministerial order. Ministerial orders must be published in the Belgian Official Journal before they can enter into force. 

The premise is: no travel. But there are exceptions.

  • Compelling family matters such as reunification, co-parenting, visiting a spouse not living under the same roof, a wedding, a funeral.
  • Visiting a ‘serious’ partner in a long-term relationship. Not a casual lover. 
  • Humanitarian reasons: medical issue, helping someone, end-of-life visits…
  • Medical treatments of animals.
  • Inhabitants of border towns can cross the border for groceries and such. But the emphasis is on proximity. 
  • For school-related reasons. 
  • Urgent juridical and legal matters which can’t be handled online.
  • Travel for professional reasons is possible. Government officials, diplomats et al are allowed to travel.

That last one will most certainly be used as an excuse.

Domestic travel is still allowed. Bear in mind you need to respect the now usual sanitary rules.

Sworn statement

All travelers will have to carry a sworn statement stating their intent and the urgency of the journey. Here is a model form.

What is not allowed?

  • Casual family visits.
  • Going to your second residence abroad.
  • A shopping trip.
  • Hiking over the border.

United Kingdom, Republic of South Africa and South America

Since Monday 25 January, all people travelling to Belgium from the United Kingdom, South Africa or South America must quarantine for ten days with a PCR test on day 1 and day 7.

Additional test upon arrival

In addition to the mandatory negative test result prior to departure, the Consultative Committee would like every non-resident travelling to Belgium to be tested again upon arrival. This can be done with a PCR test or a rapid antigen test. The Consultative Committee has requested that the Interministerial Conference on Public Health, the Testing Task Force and the COVID-19 Commissariat make this mandatory.

Extended isolation period

People who test positive for COVID-19 will now have to isolate themselves for ten days.

After a high-risk contact or upon arrival in Belgium, the duration of quarantine remains ten days. This period may be reduced to a minimum of seven days on condition of a negative test result, where the test was taken, at the earliest, seven days after exposure.

Resources

Sources: VRT NWS, Geraardsbergen, Wikipedia, Info-coronavirus

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