Latest coronavirus measures: what changes from today?

Belgium’s National Security Council announced the latest measures to stop the further spread of the coronavirus almost two weeks ago, but most of them only go into force from today.

The restart of the school year generally goes hand in hand with many other changes and updated policies across the country. This year, however, sees more change than others as most coronavirus measures that were announced on 20 August also start applying.

As announced before, all pupils will be able to return to school, in code yellow. This means that they will go back to school in a full-time five-day week. For pupils over 12 years old and teachers, face masks are mandatory.

Gathering after a funeral will be allowed with up to 50 people.

Events, such as sports competitions, congresses or cultural events, can take place with 200 people if indoors, and 400 when the event takes place outdoors. Face masks are still mandatory.

Additionally, the Flemish and French-speaking communities decided to reduce the minimum social distance between people at events from 1.5 metres to 1 metre.

Couples who live in different countries and are not married, but can prove that they have a lasting relationship, will be allowed to cross borders to see each other again.

The “bubble of five people” for social contact, a restriction which was initially set to end together with the summer holidays, has been extended until the end of September as well. On Monday, however, Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès said that this is more of a general idea to keep in mind than a fixed rule to follow, stressing that limiting contacts and keeping your distance is the core message.

Lastly, going shopping is now allowed with a maximum of 2 people, and without a time limit. This rule already took effect the Monday following the press conference to accommodate the end of the sales period, but will continue to apply throughout September.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times