The Covid Safe Ticket (CST) may be extended in Brussels until mid-April. This was approved by the parliamentary Health Committee on Tuesday January 11th, Belgian news outlet Bruzz reported. A plenary vote will follow on Thursday. There was a lot of criticism from the opposition about the lack of evaluation.
According to the application decree that established the Covid Safe Ticket in October 2021, the CST would only be valid for three months until January 15. Now that corona infections are on the rise again, the Brussels government wants to extend that ordinance another three months until April 15.
The Covid Safe Ticket remains compulsory in the catering industry, nightlife, sports and fitness venues, fairs and congresses, cultural and recreational sites and for visitors to healthcare institutions. For all other places the ticket is mandatory from the age of 16. This Covid Safe Ticket is also mandatory for mass events, but that is federal legislation and not Brussels. Fines of up to 500 euros were set for those not following the rules.
Health Minister Alain Maron mentioned that an evaluation of the effectiveness of the CST in limiting infections has been ordered by the Corona Commission. The evaluation analysis, BRUZZ reports, is not yet ready. The majority in parliament also urged the urgent publication of that evaluation.
The goal of the CST was never to increase vaccinations, but to reduce the risk of infections. The fourth wave shows us that there was possibly a positive effect in Brussels, as Flanders had more infections without CST.Alain Maron, Brussels Region Health Minister
Maron stressed that other preventive measures were in place in Brussels in recent months, such as the mouth mask requirement. On Thursday, the Parliament will vote in plenary on the extension of the CST, who is set to expire this coming Saturday.
Some experts do not fully believe the introduction of the CST has led to more people choosing to get vaccinated. The Brussels Times reports that to microbiologist Emmanuel André, the introduction of the CST across Belgium did not necessarily increase the vaccination rate. In fact it could have resulted in more coronavirus infections. “The CST didn’t really increase the vaccination rate but it did lead to more contacts, and thus indirectly to more infections. The two are connected,” André stated.