Belgian Prime-Minister, Alexander De Croo, announced this evening that Belgium will go back into lockdown starting this Monday 2nd November until 13th December. The most recent figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) have shown that Belgium is now the worst-affected country by the coronavirus in all of Europe. The country has the highest number of infections per 100,000 inhabitants.
“Our country is in a health emergency. The pressure in hospitals is immense,” said Alexander De Croo. “In each of our hospitals, the limit has already been greatly exceeded.”
He called on all Belgians to stand up with the nursing staff. “We can only do it one way: by limiting all physical contact for as long as it takes,” the prime minister said. “We need to break this skyrocketing as quickly and drastically as possible. We have unanimously decided to move to tighter confinement, with rules valid for the whole country.”
The government is committed to extending and evaluating support measures for the sectors that will be impacted by the restrictions. “We are not going to leave anyone by the wayside,” said Alexander De Croo. “We will overcome this crisis only if we show solidarity and do whatever it takes in the weeks to come.”
These measures are Belgium’s “last chance,” De Croo stressed. They will take effect on Sunday night, and will remain until December 13.
1. Indoors, only one visitor allowed per household
The rule of four that applied to the house is gone. All families have the right to one close contact that they can invite into their household (always the same person, with an exception for single people who will be able to see two people – not at the same time). On the other hand, outside, you can still meet 4 people (while respecting the wearing of the mask and social distancing). Borders are not closed, but travel abroad is strongly discouraged.
2. Non-essential trips
They will not be limited. Belgians will be able to continue to move freely.
It becomes mandatory wherever it is possible. Where teleworking is impossible, wearing a mask will be mandatory as well as good ventilation of the building. Checks will take place in companies to ensure compliance with this measure.
4. Non-essential stores
All non-essential stores will have to close (however, a take-away service can be organized). There will be an evaluation on December 1st. Food stores remain open. Non-essential stores, hairdressers, beauty salons closed until 13 December.
5. Schools holidays extended until 15 November
The All Saints’ holidays will be extended until November 15. Nurseries will be organized. The start of the school year on November 16 will be face-to-face for kindergarten and primary school students. For secondary schools, the start of the school year will be 100% face-to-face for secondary 1 and 2 students. For the others, the teaching will be 50% face-to-face until at least December 1 (an evaluation will take place on this date). For higher education, courses will only be conducted remotely until the end of the year (an exception will be made from 1 December for first year students and for practical work as well as laboratories that can be done in person).
Restaurants and bars in hotels must close their doors. Meals can only be served in your room.
They will be limited to a maximum of 15 people, compared to 40 currently. Meals and receptions will no longer be allowed.
8. Religious services
Religious services are prohibited from this Monday, November 2.
Garages and bicycle shops can remain open, but only to take care of repairs.