Belgium presents ‘summer plan’ for return to ‘normal life’

According to the country’s Consultative Committee, the ‘summer plan’ will involve reopening milestones – 9 June, 1 July, 30 July, 13 August, 1 September - in accordance to vaccination and hospital occupancy criteria. [Shutterstock/Werner Lerooy]

Belgium’s government on Tuesday presented plans for a major easing of its restrictions, starting on 9 June, with the reopening of cinemas, theatres, gyms and indoor cafes and restaurants.

According to the country’s Consultative Committee, the ‘summer plan’ will involve reopening milestones – 9 June, 1 July, 30 July, 13 August, 1 September – in accordance to vaccination and hospital occupancy criteria.

From 9 June, if intensive care occupancy falls below 500 and roughly 80% of people with underlying health conditions having been vaccinated, the hospitality sector will also be allowed to serve customers indoors, with a maximum of four people at a table (unless it’s a bigger family) with opening hours between 8am and 10pm. Outdoor terraces can remain open until 11.30pm.

At the same time, four people will be allowed to gather indoors, up from a current maximum of two.

Teleworking rules will be eased, with staff able to return to their workplace for one day a week, provided there is always no more than 20% of the total workforce present at any one time.

Cultural venues, including cinemas and theatres, will be allowed to reopen with a maximum audience of 200, wearing masks, and a requirement to remain seated.

Gyms, sport halls, bowling alleys and saunas would be allowed to reopen and outdoor cultural activities can have up to 400 people in the audience. Weddings and funerals can take place with up to 100 participants indoors or 200 people outdoors.

Demonstrations will be allowed to take place with up to 100 people, with a pre-agreed route.

The next phase will take effect from 1 July if by then at least 60% of over-18s have received at least their first vaccine dose. (Alexandra Brzozowski, EURACTIV.com)

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