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Belgium's coronavirus rules: What changes on 4 May (and what doesn't)

22:17 03/05/2020

Monday 4 May brings a number of changes to Belgium's coronavirus measures - including the possibility to practise more outdoor sports. But the general rule remains unchanged: stay at home and limit your contact with other people.

Federal crisis centre spokesman Yves Stevens said: "By continuing to respect the rules, as we have done in recent weeks, we have been able to limit the damage. The figures have been encouraging in recent days. It has to stay that way."

He added: "The virus is always present. We must absolutely avoid another outbreak. And you do it by showing common sense and continuing to take responsibility and following the rules."

Here's a recap of what changes from 4 May.

Outdoor activity

Until now, allowed outdoor exercise was limited to walking, cycling and jogging. From Monday, that is extended to other sports in small groups (of up to three people) without physical contact.

You can, for example, play tennis (in singles), golf or pétanque, go hiking, fishing and motorcycling. "Limited travel" to and from a sports location is permitted. For motorbikers, the ride must start and end at home - without stopping off for sightseeing along the way.

Water sports are also permitted - rowing, canoeing, sailing, diving and kayaking - but only if you already own the necessary equipment or are a member of a club. It will not be possible to rent equipment.

All these activities can be carried out with no more than two other people, or among family members living under the same roof. Participants must keep at least 1.5 metres apart. Changing rooms and showers remain closed.

Horse-riding is possible "only for the welfare of the animal and with a maximum of two riders". Team sports remain banned, as is climbing.

Transport

All of Belgium's public transport operators will be gradually increasing their levels of service from Monday. Stib says you should only travel if essential - and avoid rush hours where possible.

Wearing a mask is compulsory on all Belgian public transport, for all passengers aged 12 and over, not just on-board, but also at stops and stations. The mask should cover your nose and mouth. A scarf can be used instead. The SNCB is selling masks and disinfectant in 80 mainline rail stations.

Brussels' car inspection centres in Schaerbeek, Anderlecht, Haren and Forest will partially reopen on 4 May by appointment only. Priority will given to vehicles that have failed a roadworthiness test and need a repeat test.

Shopping

Fabric and haberdashery shops can reopen from Monday. Wholesale outlets which only sell business-to-business may also resume trading.

The other shops allowed to open remain unchanged: food stores, including night shops (until 22.00 at the latest), pet food shops, pharmacies, newsagents, petrol stations, DIY stores and garden centres. Also included are medical device vendors and telecoms stores - but for emergencies only, by appointment.

Supermarkets can freely organise new promotions and bulk-buy discounts. Until now, these had been limited to promotional activities that had already been decided or were already running before 18 March.

Every store that is open must respect the usual social distancing rules, including a limit of one customer per 10m² of retail space and a maximum 30-minute shopping time. You should continue to do your shopping alone where possible. All other non-essential stores will not reopen for at least another week. Public markets remain closed.

Work

Remote working from home is still strongly recommended in all companies, whatever their size, for all staff members whose job allows. Employees in firms that provide business-to-business services - with no direct contact with the public - can return to work on 4 May. The firm must respect social distancing rules, notably a distance of at least 1.5 metres between each employee. A 50-page set of guidelines has been published, covering everything from canteens to toilets and lifts.

Creches

Belgium's French-speaking creches, accredited by the childcare body ONE, will reopen to all from 4 May. Until now they had been reserved for parents in essential jobs. It is recommended that children should be split into groups of no more than 10. Drop-off and pick-up times should be staggered, and only one parent should enter the building (the same parent each day, where possible). Facilities should be disinfected at the end of each day. Staff will be provided with cloth masks and disinfectant gel.

We are still in the stay-at-home period

All gatherings, big and small, remain banned, with the exception of funerals (maximum 15 people, no body on display) and weddings (with just the couple, witnesses and registrar/minister present).

Schools are still closed, except for children whose parents are performing a crucial job and cannot be looked after at home. Cultural and recreational venues remain closed, including indoor gyms, museums, bars and restaurants. Hotels and aparthotels can open, with the exception of their restaurants, meeting rooms and leisure facilities.

Read more on The Bulletin

Written by The Bulletin

Comments

danbruylandt

So where is my mouth mask???
The government promised !
Another mess-up from our six governments and our nine ministers of Public Health!!!

May 4, 2020 02:24