Belgium is implementing additional restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus, announced Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo during a press conference on Friday December 3rd.
The discussions were based on the recommendations of the experts of the GEMS (group in charge of advising the government), handed over to the members of Consultative Committee on Thursday. The politicians decided not to follow all the points of advice given by the GEMS.
Let’s be clear, we can no longer have any taboos at the moment. We are going through difficult weeks. Belgium’s contamination rate is one of the highest in EuropeAlexander De Croo, Belgian Prime Minister
- From Saturday December 4th, wearing of masks will be required for children from the age of six.
- As soon as two contagion cases are observed in a classroom, activities will have to be stopped. Classes will be required to use a CO2 measuring device.
- Secondary education will take place in a hybrid way from December 8th to 24th: 50% of the courses will be given at a distance. Kindergartens and elementary school will have to close on December 18th. As for higher education, the Ministers of Higher Education will have to study the modalities soon.
- Events with more than 200 people indoors will be banned as of Monday, December 5th. Events with less than 200 people can still be held, but with Covid Safe Ticket and masks on. Sports activities can be held indoors but without an audience. For outdoor sports activities, the public is allowed but local authorities will have to ensure that there are not too many people.
- All indoor activities are banned, except for weddings, funerals and meetings in someone’s home. Cinemas and theaters can remain open but with a capacity limit of 200 people. Outdoor events, such as Christmas markets, can still take place but only with the CST, use of face masks and supervision of the number of people present.
- It is recommended to limit contact. The requirement to telecommute four days a week continues to apply.
“I am aware that this is not a positive message, but it was necessary to act quickly,” said De Croo. He stressed that these measures had to be put in place to avoid stricter measures later on in the year. On a positive note, he said that the number of deaths is much lower than in other countries. He thanked all Belgians and residents of Belgium who have been vaccinated. “This act of solidarity has prevented many deaths and hospitalizations. We now want to focus on the booster vaccination campaign.”
In the case of fitness centers, as of December 4, 2021, all members who are 6 or older will be required to wear a mask while moving around the different areas of the fitness center. This is in addition to the requirement of showing the Covid Safe Ticket. “Sport plays a vital role in the physical and mental well-being of our community,” said Flavien Chambaud, General Manager Aspria Arts-Loi.
As studies have shown, regular physical activity supports and strengthens our immune system. It reduces stress, improves cardiovascular health, overall physical strength, mobility and much moreFlavien Chambaud, General Manager Aspria Arts-Loi
Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke noted that a plateau in terms of contagion cases as well as in terms of admissions to intensive care is being observed. The plateau, however, is far too high, the minister noted. “There is too much circulation of the virus,” he said. “I wonder what it’s going to mean for the health care staff if we don’t manage to decrease the number of hospitalizations for the holiday season.”