The Consultative Committee has announced a new lockdown of and in Belgium, as there are much more infections registered, many more people are taken to hospital and the intensive care units (ICUs) are being filled with people suffering from COVID-19 induced health issues.
Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Open Vld) announced
- Non-medical contact professions such as barbers, beauty workers, tattoo artists and salons must close.
- The Easter School Break will start a week earlier, except kindergarten.
- Non-essential shops will only be accessible on appointment. Inspiration comes from the Netherlands. So no more ‘fun shopping’.
- Large stores – think IKEA – can welcome up to fifty people simultaneously
- The outside contact bubble goes back to four people.
- Leisure travel across the border remains banned. There will be border checks, ceetainly during the Easter School Break.
- The curfew remains.
- No ban on non-essential domestic excursions.
- People must work from home. Where that’s not possible, workers will be tested.
Let’s not forget that gyms, cinemas, theaters and many sporting activities have been impossible since November 2020.
Nothing was said concerning museums or hotels.
These coronavirus countermeasures are scheduled to last four weeks. So, until 25 April.
PM De Croo hopes this ‘Easter Time-Out‘ wil curve the infection curve. In Dutch ‘paaspauze‘ and in French ‘pause pascale‘ it sounds better.
“It will depend on our behaviour”, stressed De Croo. Will Belgians behave? Prof. dr. Steven Van Gucht of Sciensano says the mobility of Belgians has increased a lot. People move about. That doesn’t help.
During the press conference, the PM remained silent on the promised reopening of bars and restaurants on 1 May. Analyst Michaël Van Droogenbroeck called this silence “telling”. “But these lockdown measures are being implemented in the hope the catering industry can reopen”.
It’s only the Friday after, 13 March 2020, the Federal Government took first public live limiting measures.
It became a ‘everything closed’ policy a few days later. That meant the closure of anything non-essential. Essential being food, pharmacies and health care. Public transport continued as well.
It has been a rollercoaster since then. Relaxations of coronavirus countermeasures, followed by tightenings. The vaccination campaign isn’t flawless but some 11% of Belgium’s population has had at least one jab.
Now a new strict lockdown is needed. Hopefully starting May, more activities, including travel, will be possible. We can only hope.
A selection of previous, corona-related posts
- Five open air areas for a walk in Antwerp to fight boredom during the COVID-19 lockdown.
- The world of travel and planning after coronavirus COVID-19.
- Why we keep posting during the coronavirus crisis.
- Belgium forbids non-essential travel until 19 April 2020.
- Get used to an IKEA-inspired post-corona world.
- Skam or being shamed for going outside.
- Shopping at the Meir and Stadsfeestzaal after 11 May 2020.
- Keeping right and one-way shopping streets for pedestrians in Antwerp.
- Belgium introduces colour code for travel abroad.
- Face masks mandatory from Saturday July 11 in shops, shopping malls, theaters, museums and cinemas.
- ANTWERP | You now must have a face mask with you at all times.
- Second corona lockdown in Belgium.
- Antwerp’s museums reopen on 5 December 2020.
- This was 2020: COVID-19 and a myriad of coronavirus countermeasures.
- 2021 a fresh start or a transition year?.
- Belgium to allow leisure travel within European Union and Schengen Area from 19 April 2021.