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Binational couples protest new corona travel rule: ‘Two years is too long’

17:38 24/08/2020

Dozens of people with partners who live abroad protested outside of the federal foreign affairs office on Rue de Louvain in Brussels on Sunday morning. They are angry about what they see as an arbitrary time period put on relationships that fall under the new coronavirus measure.

Last week the federal government announced that the measures for visiting partners who live in other countries would be relaxed. Previously the couple had to be married, but now someone living in Belgium can visit a partner living in a designated Covid-19 red zone if they have been in a relationship for at least two years. The new measure begins on 1 September.

Prime minister Sophie Wilmès stated that the couple should have been in “a stable relationship” for at least two years or have lived together for at least a year prior to the current situation or have a child together. Proof of one of these situations must be submitted.

Love is not tourism

The Facebook group Love is Not Tourism find that the measure is out of touch with modern life. “My partner lives in Israel, and we have been together for two years and two months,” Eva Hoornaert, who organised the protest, told De Standaard. “On 1 September, we can see each other again. In the meantime, there are other couples who haven’t been together as long who are out in the cold.”

Denmark has a similar measure, but the time period is six months. “That seems reasonable to us,” said Hoornaert. “Two years is much too long. This generally affects young couples who have gotten together fairly recently and have been suddenly separated by the corona crisis. Isn’t the fact that they want to be together after so many months proof enough?”

Photo ©Bet Noire/Getty Images

Written by Lisa Bradshaw