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Belgium's coronavirus restrictions: What changes on Monday 18 May

13:55 17/05/2020

Need a haircut? Hairdressers, beauty salons and tattoo parlours have been allowed to reopen from 18 May.

"Phase 2" of the easing of Belgium's coronavirus measures sees the reopening of businesses that require close physical contact with each customer on Monday, by appointment only. The hairdresser/beautician and the customer must both wear masks.

Open-air markets can also reopen, with a maximum of 50 stands, compulsory masks and a one-way circuit to ensure social distancing.

Monday 18 May also sees a gradual reopening of Belgium's cultural sector. Museums and historical buildings will again be accessible, provided they sell tickets online or by telephone and limit the number of visitors at any given time. Museum cafes and playgrounds must remain closed. See our round-up here of who is planning what. 

The same applies to zoos and animal parks, which again can reopen from next Monday. Both Antwerp Zoo and Planckendael in Mechelen have announced that only season pass holders will be allowed in for the first two weeks. On 1 June, the rest of the public is welcome. Pairi Daiza is also limiting access to its members for the first few days.

Some primary and secondary school year groups will return to class from 18 May, although some French-speaking schools in three Brussels municipalities are not yet ready and could reopen a week later - in Schaerbeek, Saint-Josse and Watermael-Boitsfort. Nursery schools remain closed. Outdoor sports training sessions in teams may resume, with a maximum of 20 people.

The maximum number of guests at weddings and funerals will also be increased to 30 from next Monday. These guests can attend the ceremony, but no reception or catering can be arranged afterwards.

Throughout the Brussels region, street parking rules will begin to enforced again from Monday, mayors have agreed.

Also starting this week, Brussels Airport will hand out facemasks to passengers and employees. There are only a dozen flights per day at Zaventem, meaning only a few hundred people using the terminal, compared to 90,000 on an average day.

The next step in the relaxing of the coronavirus measures - including a possible reopening of restaurants/cafes and summer camps - will come no earlier than 8 June.

"I can already confirm that all cultural, sporting, touristic and recreational events remain prohibited until 30 June," Wilmès said, adding that it there would be no "return to normal" this summer.

Written by The Bulletin