Five short days after the previous Concertation Committee, the Belgian government announced new measures. Starting with the closure of schools and contact professions for several weeks.
While “Covid” trends continue to increase and the measures taken during the Consultation Committee last Friday seem insufficient, the Prime Minister has decided to convene a Consultation Committee this Wednesday morning. Objective: tighten the screw to stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in Belgium and “reduce the pressure in hospitals”.
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After a morning of discussions with the various regional governments, Alexander De Croo announced the new measures which will come into force from next Monday. “And this for a period of four weeks.”
“The British variant has become dominant in our country. You could say that we have entered a new phase. It is not an exponential increase but that does not mean that it is not worrying because even a linear increase becomes untenable, notes the Prime Minister. We therefore opted for strong and short measures. We are going to take a Easter break. ”
As expected, the De Croo government has decided to close primary, secondary and higher schools from next Monday. Teaching will therefore no longer be face-to-face for the next three weeks (including two weeks of leave).
“It is in the age group of 10-19 years that the Covid-19 contamination is the strongest, details the Prime Minister to explain this choice. A delay with the approach of the Easter holidays should allow us to reverse this trend. This is a method that we have already used in the past, during the fall holidays. ” And to add that “the objective is to reopen the schools from April 19”.
Examinations may however take place during the week preceding the Easter holidays.
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Next week, a daycare will also be provided for children whose parents perform functions where teleworking is not possible and for people who are unable to look after the children.
Youth camps and extracurricular activities are still permitted, but only during the Easter holidays and in small groups of up to 10 young people, without overnight stay.
Note that the nursery sections remain open.
2Non-essential businesses: a mandatory appointment
Non-food businesses will only operate by appointment from this Saturday. Their number will vary depending on the size of the store but it may not exceed 50 people. The “click & collect” remains possible.
“Shopping should also be done alone, preferably”, further specifies the Prime Minister before adding that a second person can also be present “if she is from the same household”.
Essential stores (food, pharmacies, hygiene, fabrics, florists and nurseries, telecoms and bookstores) can continue to welcome customers without an appointment.
3Closed contact professions
Only a few weeks after having reopened their doors, the contact professions (which are not medical) must once again close shop.
4Restricted gathering outdoors
While Belgians could once again meet up to 10 people outside, this social bubble will now be limited to 4 people.
The close contact bubble remains limited to one person.
Similarly, non-essential travel remains prohibited. “There will also be more border controls during the Easter period”, underlines Alexander De Croo.
Unchanged federal curfew and freedom of movement
“I am well aware that these are difficult measures to swallow, especially for those who have to stop their work,” notes Alexander De Croo. But the Prime Minister, convinced that we can still “break the third wave”, wants to be positive.
In addition to the fact that “the aid (financial of the State, editor’s note) remains the same”, he also underlines that no movement is prohibited inside the country and that the federal curfew remains unchanged.
It should also be noted that the specific measures applied in Brussels (curfew from 10 p.m., closing of shops at 8 p.m., wearing of masks in the street and ban on the consumption of alcohol in public spaces) are also extended. namely Minister-President Rudi Vervoort.