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Foreign travel, cafes, work: How Belgium's coronavirus restrictions will change from 9 June

22:20 04/06/2021

Belgium has confirmed the next step in its roadmap to ease coronavirus restrictions this summer, starting on Wednesday (9 June) with the reopening of many indoor venues and relaxed rules on social contacts.

Here are the main measures decided on Friday by the coronavirus consultative committee.

Eating and drinking

Cafes, pubs and restaurants can welcome customers indoors from 9 June, with similar rules to those already in place on terraces: a maximum of four people per table, unless you are in a bigger family group all living under the same roof.

Opening hours will be extended from the same date. Cafes will be allowed to open from 5.00 (instead of 8.00 at present). This measure allows hotels, for example, to start serving early breakfasts again.

A uniform closing time of 23.30 (instead of 22.00) applies to all venues, whether customers are sitting indoors or out. This makes it possible for cafes to screen Euro 2020 football fixtures in full - many of which kick off at 21.00. Night shops can also stay open until 23.30.

Sport/leisure

Gyms, saunas, bowling alleys, casinos, betting shops and indoor playgrounds can reopen from 9 June. Sports clubs and associations can again organise indoor and outdoor activities with up to 50 people.

Events

Cultural events can be organised indoors with up to 200 people (or a maximum 75% of the venue's capacity, if smaller), with compulsory masks and distancing. Outdoor events with up to 400 people are possible. Youth activities are allowed with up to 50 participants, without any overnight stays.

From 13 August, major events attended by up to 75,000 people will be allowed. Visitors will be required to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative test result. About 30 test events will be held in July and August to study how best to manage crowds.

Social contacts

The "indoor bubble" concept, which currently allows you to invite the same two people to your home, is no more. Instead, you can invite up to four people to your home - and these need not be the same people each time.

If you are meeting up with a group of people, all of whom are fully vaccinated, wearing a mask will no longer be necessary.

You should still meet outdoors as much as possible, and limit the number of people you see: meeting in a group of five is safer than a group of 50.

The mayors of Brussels' 19 municipalities will meet next week to discuss whether the region-wide requirement to wear a mask outdoors should be lifted.

Work

Workers keen to return to their old office will be allowed to do so from 9 June. The requirement to work from home is being partially lifted. One day per week in your workplace is allowed. This is optional. No more than 20% of employees can be present at any given time - or five people working for small firms of up to 10.

From 1 July, the office ban is lifted entirely, but working from home will remain "recommended" instead of compulsory.

Foreign travel

Belgium's Covid certificate, which is expected to launch later this month, will allow unrestricted travel to any European member state, provided the holder is fully vaccinated or had tested negative for the virus within less than 72 hours.

"Fully vaccinated" is considered to be two weeks after the second dose of the vaccine is administered - or two weeks after the first shot if the single-dose Johnson & Johnson jab was used.

For arrivals into the country, the passenger locator form remains in place and must be filled out by anyone entering Belgium, whether travelling for business or leisure.

From 1 July, travellers entering Belgium from a green or orange zone will no longer be required to quarantine or take coronavirus tests.

The requirement to quarantine will also be waived for travellers from a red zone, if they provide a European Covid certificate.

Red zone passengers who do not get tested before travelling will be able to do so on arrival. If the test is negative, no quarantine is required. Children under 12 are exempt from testing in this instance.

Belgian residents arriving from an area considered to be very high risk, where variants of the virus are spreading, will still be told to quarantine for 10 days and take a coronavirus test on the first and seventh day.

Belgian residents who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated, including children aged six to 17, will be entitled to two free PCR tests during the summer months (July to September).

Written by The Bulletin

Comments

WK

Where is the logic? Germany is under 30 - quite below Belgium - but is considered red zone. France recognises double vaccination, Belgium not… because Belgium waits for the app! So, not many tourist will come. In Germany when going to a café terrasse you have to show a test or vaccination certificate and to register, in Belgium you can soon go into restaurants - and you have no security not to sit next to a Covid person…

Jun 5, 2021 08:49
CMBROOKE

WK. We are in Spain and coming back find these rules bizarre as well. Not possible to dot every i and cross every t. Zero risk is a nonsense. The two countries with high covid fatality per capita impact UK and Belgium are over worrying about themselves and forgetting their own relative status.

The protocols for fully vaccinated (10day+) returnees are ludicrous.

Jun 5, 2021 11:46
Frank Lee

When the pandemic was at its highest point, it was obvious that one day there would be a vaccine, but only when it was released did the EU start figuring out how to handle vaccinations. When vaccinations started, it became evident that one day we would have to find a way to handle a restart of the economy in general, and of tourism in particular, but once again it's like our politicians are being caught by surprise.
Is it too much to ask from our "leaders" to do just a little planning ahead?
Each country has its own rules... The EU has once again proven its lack of unity. A sad state of affairs.

Jun 5, 2021 14:29