Various authorities across Belgium have agreed on a series of new measures for certain sectors which will come into effect immediately and aim to reduce contact and physical proximity.

To reduce the spread of the pandemic in Belgium, authorities have introduced new measures which will come in effect from Friday 23 October until 19 November.

The Prime Minister explained the new measures would seek to reduce contacts, thus relieving pressure on hospitals and ensuring pupils could still attend school, while allowing businesses to operate. The PM went on to urge Belgians to work together against the virus.

Schools

Belgian schools will remain open, with obligatory 5-day attendance. The Minister-President of Wallonia-Brussels said this was because young people had suffered "a terrible blow" to their education during lockdown.

For those in higher education, classes will operate at 20% capacity for occupancy rates, while those present must wear a mask. This means that they will not close for the time being. The rule for compulsory education remains that physical presence for 5 days is required.

Mr Jeholet, the Minister-President of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, acknowledges the academic setback that young people suffered during the first lockdown. The damage needs to be taken into consideration, he states.

Higher education: the occupancy rate of the premises falls to a maximum of 20% with the obligation to wear a mask, except for practical work where this is not possible. This rule does not apply to first-year students.

For higher education, the occupancy rate of the premises will fall to a maximum of 20%, and masks are mandatory. Practical work that cannot operate under such circumstances will be exempt from this rule, but cannot apply to first-year students.

Remote working

The same regulations remain in place.

Cultural events

Cultural events can continue with a maximum of 200 people, but a strict protocol must be followed.
This applies in particular to cinemas, theatres and concert halls. The authorities have indicated that the major outbreaks of contamination are not in cultural venues, as the protocols are already strict there.

Outdoor events and activities

A maximum of 40 people are allowed, but only if there are sufficient guarantees that the organisation can respect the rules against coronavirus.

If the 1.5 metre distance rule and the wearing of masks is respected, up to 200 people can gather for outdoor events.
However, the sale of drinks and foods is forbidden.

Sports 

  • Sports competitions (in- and outdoors), without an audience
  • Amateur matches are suspended, but training sessions can be held
  • Matches for children under 18 years old are still allowed (only family members may attend)
  • Indoor sports are forbidden if the social distancing rule cannot be respected (except for children under 12 years old)

Youth activities (scouts, internships)

  • Only outdoors for children aged 12 or more
  • Mandatory mask
  • Evening activities are prohibited, except for children under 12 years old
  • Scout camps with overnight stays: authorised for children under 12 years of age (also for children between 12 and 14 years of age if four overnight stays are planned) Residential camps are forbidden for children over 14 years old.

Amusement parks and animal parks

  • Amusement parks closed
  • Animal parks: closed indoor areas, outdoor areas: food and drink may not be sold or consumed there.

Hospitals: non-urgent surgeries postponed

This concerns surgeries for the next 4 weeks.

Urgent operations and vital treatments such as chemotherapy, dialysis and revalidation are maintained.

Reminder of the measures in place

  • Close contacts are limited to a maximum of 1 person.

  • Private gatherings are limited to 4 people for a fortnight.

  • Gatherings in public are limited to a maximum of 4 people.

  • Small markets and fairs remain open, but the consumption of food and drink is prohibited. Flea markets, flea markets and small Christmas markets are prohibited.

  • Cafés and restaurants are closed. This applies for a period of four weeks and will be reviewed after two weeks. Take-away meals can be collected on site until 10 pm.

  • Receptions and banquets organised by a professional catering or catering service are not permitted, except in hotels for guests staying there and receptions in the context of funerals (maximum 40 people).

  • Night shops must close at 10 pm. The sale of alcohol is prohibited after 8pm.

  • It is forbidden to be in public between midnight and 5 am, except for essential and non-deferrable travel, such as travel for urgent medical reasons, business trips and travel between home and work.