The content of this website is not yet adapted to the Ministerial Order of 28 October 2020. We are working on an update. Thank you for your understanding.
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What are the current measures?

Current measures

The government has set rules to stop the spread of coronavirus. Follow these rules. This way, you will avoid becoming ill or making others ill. Thank you for following them. Together we’ll stop the coronavirus.

Please note: some cities and municipalities will also have extra rules in place. Check the website of your city or municipality. How are these level determined? More information here

Journeys

In Belgium

  • You are allowed to move around freely.
  • If you are using public transport (bus, tram or train) and are you older than 12 years of age, wear a face mask or a scarf covering your mouth and nose.
  • You are not allowed to be on the street between midnight and 5 AM.

On holiday abroad

Do you have a question about journeys ?

Work

Do you have a question about employment?

Shops and catering industry

  • All shops are open. Night shops are open until 10:00 p.m.
  • You are not allowed to buy alcohol after 8 PM.
  • Markets are open. Rumbling markets and Christmas markets are not allowed.
  • Cafés and restaurants are closed. You can order take away until 10 PM.
  • Do you own a shop? Read the guide by the FPS Economy with tips to open your shop safely. This guide also contains information for market vendors, hairdressers, beauticians and shopping centres.
  • Do you own a pub or restaurant? Read the guide by the FPS Economy with tips to open your pub or restaurant safely.

Do you have a question about employment?

Social contact

  • You can meet up with whomever you want. Keep a distance of 1.5 meters or wear a face mask. You may have close contact with maximum 1 person. It is not necessary to keep a distance of 1.5 meters. Children under 12 years old and the people you live with do not need to be taken into account.
  • If you invite people over, you are allowed to have maximum 4 and the same guests for a two-week period. Children under 12 years old do not need to be taken into account.
  • If you meet up outside, the group can be of maximum 4 people. Children under 12 years old do not need to be taken into account.

Do you have a question about social contact ?

Sports and leisure

  • All locations have reopened, e.g. libraries, theme parks, indoor playgrounds and casinos.
  • For official events, there will be a maximum number of people allowed to attend.
    • inside: a maximum of 40 people
    • inside locations that allow a larger number of participants: a maximum of 200 people
    • outside: a maximum of 400 people
    • Keep your distance (1,5 m) and wear a face mask when you attend an event.
    • Each organisation has specific rules. Check the website
  • You must wear a face mask (from the age of 12). This is mandatory in the following places:
    • shops and shopping malls,
    • shopping streets,
    • crowded places,
    • markets,
    • public transport,
    • libraries,
    • cinemas,
    • museums,
    • theatres, concert halls and conference halls,
    • auditoria,
    • fairgrounds
    • religious buildings
  • You need to give your contact info when you go to:
    • wellness centres
    • sports lessons in a club
    • swimming pools
    • casinos
    • party and reception rooms

What is not allowed?

  • Amusement parks are temporarily closed.
  • Discotheques or night clubs are not allowed to reopen.
  • Big events (such as festivals) are not allowed.

Sport

  • If you are part of a sports club, there are specific rules in place. Check the information through your sport club.
  • You can exercise in a fitness club, sports club or swimming pool.
  • You can visit a sauna or wellness centre. Publicly accessible jacuzzis, hammams and steam rooms remain closed.
  • No audience is allowed at professional sports competitions. Amateur matches are canceled. At youth matches (up to the age of 18) one member of the family may be present per player.

Religion

  • Worship services are allowed.
    • There is a maximum number of people allowed to attend.
      • inside: a maximum of 40 people
      • inside locations that allow a larger number of participants: a maximum of 200 people
    • Physical contact is not allowed.
    • You must wear a face mask (from the age of 12 years).

Do you have a question about sports or culture?

Nurseries and schools

  • Nurseries are open. Your nursery will contact you with more information.
  • Your school will give you more information about the academic year.

Do you have a question about nurseries or schools?

Frequently asked questions

Go to results Examples: masks school fever train airport
This FAQ is not yet adapted to the Ministerial Order of 28 October 2020. We are working on an update. Thank you for your understanding.

Results

General measures

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  • What can I do myself?

    The latest developments in the COVID-19 pandemic remain particularly concerning. It is necessary for the healthcare system to retain the ability to care for non-COVID-19 patients, to accommodate all patients in the best possible conditions, for the schools to remain open as much as possible, for the economy to continue to function as much as possible and for a general lockdown to be avoided. The Consultative Committee of 22 October 2020 has therefore decided to temporarily make some measures stricter.

    Respecting the six golden rules remains central to controlling the pandemic. As a reminder, the six golden rules are as follows:

    1. The hygiene measures (e.g. washing hands, coughing and sneezing hygiene, etc.) remain essential;
    2. Outdoor activities should be prioritised wherever possible. Where necessary, indoor areas must be adequately ventilated;
    3. Additional precautions must be taken for people belonging to a high-risk group.
    4. Social distancing of 1.5 meters is the norm, except for people living under the same roof or between people who have close contact on a regular basis, for children mixing up to the age of 12 years and between counsellors and their clients (people in need of counselling). People who are unable to respect social distancing must wear a face mask;
    5. It is necessary for everyone to limit their close contacts as much as possible. “Closer contact” implies contact which lasts longer than 15 minutes, without respecting social distancing and without wearing a face mask. During this phase of the epidemic, it is recommended that each person limits themselves to close contact with 1 person(outside the household).
    6. Gatherings are limited to a maximum of 4 people (excluding children under 12 years of age). Not including exceptions stipulated in the Ministerial Order.

    These six golden rules are instructions and not recommendations. They must therefore be adhered to by everyone.

  • What does the declaration of a federal phase mean for the local authorities?

    A federal phase means that the governors and mayors must apply the general measures.

    Nevertheless, the Ministerial Order allows the local authorities to take additional measures imposed by the health situation, subject to the following conditions:

    1.If the competent local authorities decide to take preventive measures, they will do so in consultation with the competent authorities of the federated entities. The mayor will consult with the governor on this matter. 2. If the mayor or the governor is informed by the health authority of the federated entity concerned of a local resurgence of the epidemic within their territory, or if they identify this themselves:

    • The mayor or governor must take the additional measures required by the situation;
    • The mayor must immediately inform the governor and the competent authorities of the federated entities of the additional measures taken at municipal level;
    • If the planned measures have an impact on federal resources or on neighbouring municipalities or at national level, consultation is required in accordance with the structures provided for in the Royal Decree of 22 May 2019 on local emergency planning.

    The mayor is responsible for oral and visual communication of the specific measures taken on the territory of their municipality. The local government shall ensure correct communication for both residents and visitors. It is therefore recommended that citizens consult the communication channels of the municipality in which they live (or intend to visit) in order to find out about any specific measures that may apply. The Minister of the Interior shall provide instructions regarding coordination.

  • What are the consequences of non-compliance with the measures decided at the federal level?
    Compliance with the announced measures is essential in order to avoid the further spread of the pandemic and {2}additional reinforcement of the measures.{2} We are counting on everyone’s sense of civic duty and responsibility. In the event of non-compliance with the measures (provided by the Ministerial Order), sanctions are possible under Article 187 of the law on Civil Security of 15 May 2007, among others. Local authorities remain competent for public order in accordance with article 135 §2 of the new municipal law, without prejudice to the measures or the spirit of the measures taken at a higher level. The police forces will carry out permanent checks to ensure strict compliance with the measures.
  • Can protocols deviate from the maximum number of persons admitted for an activity?

    The ministerial order provides for the possibility of deviating from the maximum number of persons admitted for an indoor or outdoor activity. The consultation committee of 22 October 2020 decided that this possibility of deviation should be limited by setting a limit:

    • 200 persons indoors
    • 400 persons outdoors

    It was also decided to extend the existing protocols, in their latest agreed version, beyond 23 October 2020. The above limits also apply to the protocols that are extended and to authorisations granted pursuant to Article 12 of the ministerial order of 30 June 2020 and Article 18 of the ministerial order of 18 October 2020.

  • Why am I required to give my phone number when arriving at a catering establishment, sports class, swimming pool, etc.?

    In the event that a person tests positive, these records make it easier to trace people who may have been in contact with the person in question. As a result, these people can be tested quickly and, if need be, isolated. The contact details of one visitor or participant per household must be recorded on arrival.

    The details may be limited to a telephone number or an email address and are kept for 14 calendar days, while respecting the protection of personal data, to facilitate any subsequent contact tracing. These contact details may only be used for the purposes of tackling COVID-19. The data will be destroyed after 14 calendar days.

  • Is the government using my personal telecoms data in the fight against the coronavirus?
    No, the government only has access to anonymous data, and carries out analyses that help in the fight against the coronavirus on the basis of this data. The government does not process any address, telephone number or name. It is ensured that the data cannot in any way be traced back to an individual. At the level of aggregation used, members of the public are completely anonymous and their identity is protected.
  • Why are telecoms data used?
    The government uses the anonymised and aggregated telecoms data to help make decisions regarding the control of the epidemic. Using this data, the government can ascertain various useful elements, such as: has the mobility of Belgians decreased since the measures were adopted by the National Security Council? In which geographical areas is mobility higher than in others?
  • Does this mean that all my movements are now being monitored?
    No, no new data is being collected in the context of these analyses. The data does not leave the premises of the telecoms operators. They are anonymised (i.e., it is not possible to know which individual is behind which data point) and aggregated (i.e., there is no analysis of a single individual’s behaviour).
  • Will my data be stored or reused?
    No, the data processed in the context of this project are only being used to tackle the Covid-19 epidemic. Irrelevant data is immediately and continuously deleted. Once the corona crisis is over, all data will be deleted so that they can never be stolen or used against members of the public.
  • Why is it relevant to use telecoms data in the context of a Covid-19 epidemic?
    Using mobile phone data (aggregated and anonymised) to manage epidemiological crises has already been done and has proven its effectiveness. For example, technologies similar to those currently being used were implemented during the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2013-2015. The Covid-19 virus is transmitted due to physical proximity between individuals. As such, the use of data regarding population movements can provide health authorities with essential information for managing the epidemic.
  • Can this data be used against me?
    Absolutely not. The data processed are completely anonymous and cannot be traced back to individuals. Analyses are only carried out to inform policymakers and the public. Under no circumstances will the data be used for repressive or punitive ends against individual members of the public.
  • Are there similar initiatives in other European countries?
    Yes, governments and mobile operators in other European countries, as well as the European Commission, are working on similar initiatives. The Belgian government is in contact with some of these countries to share expertise and, to the extent possible, also measure cross-border movements.
  • Do these practices comply with national and European privacy regulations?
    Absolutely. In Belgium, special attention is given to scrupulously respecting privacy regulations, unlike in some other regions of the world. The government’s approach is “privacy first”. Not only is compliance with applicable legislation continually monitored, data privacy experts and an ethics committee are also involved in analysing the data. The approach and working methods have been approved by the Data Protection Authority.
  • Who analyses and uses the data?
    The government decides which analyses will be applied to the anonymised and aggregated data, and for which purposes these analyses can be used. This is in close consultation with the Data Protection Authority. The telecoms operators only supply anonymised and aggregated data to Sciensano, which then sends the requested analyses to the government.
  • Can I choose not to provide location data in the context of the 'data against Corona' project?
    No, your location data are not supplied individually. The government only receives an overview of anonymised and aggregated data. This is never individually traceable and completely anonymous. This supply of data has been coordinated with the Data Protection Authority.

Work & economy

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  • What are the general principles for the economy?

    Homeworking will make it possible to reduce the number of people on public transport during rush hours, thus preventing them from being unable to comply with the rules of social distancing. In all companies, associations and services, teleworking is mandatory for all staff whose position is suitable for it without disrupting the continuity of business operations, activities and services.

    However, it is also important for staff to maintain a link with both their colleagues and the company, association or service for which they work. They can therefore organise well-managed ‘return moments’ with respect for sanitary regulations.

    Companies and associations offering goods or services to consumers shall carry out their activities in accordance with the applicable sectoral protocol.

    To the extent possible, links to the available protocols will be published on the website https://www.info-coronavirus.be/nl/protocollen/.

    If there is no protocol or guide for a sector, the nine general minimal rules provided for in the ministerial order apply:

    • The company or association must inform its customers and employees in good time regarding the preventive measures in force and provide the employees with appropriate training.
    • A distance of 1.5 meters between each person must be ensured;
    • Face masks and other personal protective equipment are always strongly recommended within businesses and associations and must be used in these places if the rules of social distancing cannot be complied with, due to the nature of the activity performed;
    • The activity must be organised in such a way as to avoid gatherings;
    • The company or association must provide staff and customers with the means to ensure the necessary hand hygiene;
    • The company or association must take the appropriate hygiene measures to regularly disinfect the workplace and the material used;
    • The company or association must ensure good ventilation of the workplace;
    • A contact person must be designated and announced so that customers and staff can report a possible coronavirus infection, in order to facilitate contact tracing.
    • Terraces and public spaces must be organised in accordance with the rules laid down by the municipal authorities and in compliance with the same rules as those that apply indoors.
  • Which shops can stay open?

    All companies and associations must take the necessary measures to protect everyone against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, including the application of the social distancing rules, in particular maintaining a distance of 1.5 metres between each person. As a company, they must follow the provisions laid down in the applicable generic guides to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace, which are available on the website of the FPS Economy and FPS Employment.

    All businesses and associations selling goods or services to consumers may open to the public, with the exception of:

    • night clubs and dance halls (reopening 1 September 2020 at the earliest);
    • jacuzzis, steam rooms and hammams, unless their use is private.
    • party and reception venues, except for those catering for receptions after funerals and cremations.
    • establishments belonging to the hospitality sector and other food and drinking establishments (with certain exceptions - see catering section below)
    • the indoor areas of zoos and animal parks with the exception of entrances, exits, sanitary facilities and emergency buildings;
    • amusement parks.
  • What are the specific measures for shops that remain open?

    These companies may fulfil their activities in accordance with the rules laid down in the sectoral protocol and the applicable guide published on the website of the public service responsible for them. If there is no protocol or applicable guide, they must follow the nine general rules of the Ministerial Order, which are listed above.

    Companies can follow the instructions set out in the ‘Generic guide for combatting the spread of COVID-19 at work’. Employers must inform workers in good time regarding the prevention measures in force and provide appropriate training.

    A number of specific conditions apply to shopping centres:

    • One client per 10m²;
    • Means to ensure necessary hand hygiene must be made available at the entrance and exit;
    • Markers to indicate 1.5 metres distance must be applied to the floor and/or with signs.
    • A maximum of two people can shop together. Social distancing rules must be respected, unless they are part of the same social bubble or live under the same roof. It is the retailer’s decision whether they allow for 2 people to shop together or not. One or two adults can accompany minors living under the same roof or a person in need of an escort.

    The rules imposed on shops also apply to shops located in a shopping centre, in particular the time limit on shopping (30min).

    Wearing a face mask

    Everyone from the age of 12 (customers, staff, etc.) is obliged to wear a face mask or any other fabric alternative in shopping streets, shops and shopping centres, and any private or public place with significant footfall. If this is not possible for medical reasons, a face shield can be worn.

    Mayors are responsible for determining the shopping streets and the frequently visited private and public spaces in their municipality. These spaces will be clearly defined by a notice specifying the times during which the obligation applies.

    Shops are defined as establishments open to the public which are engaged in retail and/or customer service activities, such as supermarkets, grocery stores, butchers, bakeries, sandwich shops, garages, pharmacies, laundries, banks, insurance offices and bookshops. In shopping centres and shopping streets face masks may only be removed for the time strictly necessary for the consumption of food and drink. If consumption takes place in a catering establishment, the catering rules (described below) apply. In areas of shops and shopping centres that are not open to the public, it is not compulsory to wear a face mask under the following two conditions: the areas are completely separate from the areas that are open to the public and it does not contravene any guide or protocol that may be in force.

  • What rules are there for customers?
    Several restrictions also apply to customers:
    A maximum of two people can shop together. Social distancing rules must be respected, unless they are part of the same social bubble or live under the same roof. It is the retailer’s decision whether they allow for 2 people to shop together or not. One or two adults can accompany minors living under the same roof or a person in need of an escort.
  • What about trade fairs (including exhibitions)?

    The organisers of trade fairs, including exhibitions, may carry out their activities in accordance with the protocol laid down by the competent Minister in consultation with the sector. Trade fairs not covered by the protocols will be limited to 40 people inside and in the same room, with a maximum of one person per 10m2.

    The protocols already in force on 23 October 2020 continue to apply. Nevertheless, only a deviation up to a maximum of 200 people is allowed, even if the protocol provides for a higher number of people.

    The following conditions apply for organising trade fairs:

    • The necessary crowd-control measures are taken, both inside and outside buildings, including car parks;
    • An online or telephone ticketing system must be implemented;
    • No more than one visitor per 10m².

    Trade fair visitors from the age of 12 must wear a face mask or a fabric alternative.

  • Who is responsible for monitoring compliance with the measures in shops?
    It is the responsibility of the shop owner to enable and maintain compliance with social distancing rules and to make it clear that wearing a face mask is mandatory. The owner must take the appropriate measures to ensure that everyone complies with social distancing and the obligation to wear a face mask and, if necessary, refuse entry and/or request police intervention. If they call upon a security firm, this must be done in accordance with the law of 2 October 2017 regulating private and special security.
  • Are there any restrictions on opening hours for shops?
    Shops can remain open during their normal opening hours and days. Night shops must close at 10pm and, like other establishments including vending machines, may no longer sell alcohol from 8pm onwards.
  • Are there any specific restrictions on the sale of alcoholic beverages?
    Yes, from 8pm to 5am the sale of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in all establishments (including vending machines). Outside this period, catering establishments can only sell and/or supply alcoholic beverages in combination with a takeaway meal.
  • Are there any specific restrictions for night shops?

    Night shops are defined as: any establishment whose net sales area does not exceed 150 m², which does not carry out any activities other than the sale of general food and household goods and which has an obvious and permanent “Night shop” sign. Night shops may be open between their usual opening hours and 10.00pm. Petrol stations with in-house shops are not considered as night shops and therefore do not have to close at 10.00pm.

    The sale of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in all establishments (including vending machines) from 8pm to 5am.

  • Are there any specific restrictions with regard to opening hours for casinos, amusement arcades and bookmakers?
    Casinos, amusement arcades and bookmakers may remain open from their usual opening hours until 11.30pm, unless the municipal authorities require them to close earlier. In addition, they must remain closed for an uninterrupted period until at least 6am. A maximum of 40 visitors are allowed at the same time, in the absence of a protocol. A protocol can allow for the entry of more than 40 visitors, with a maximum of 200 persons. The protocols that already applied on 23 October 2020 remain applicable, the above-mentioned limit of 200 persons also remains applicable. Offering and consuming drinks and food on the premises is prohibited.
  • Can I use jacuzzis, steam rooms and hammams?
    The use at your home is permitted. Wellness centres are allowed to rent jacuzzis, steam rooms and hammams privately, on reservation and only for people belonging to the same household or belonging to the “closer contacts”. In addition, they must be thoroughly cleaned after each use, as specified in the applicable protocol. Any other shared use of these facilities not stipulated in the above-mentioned provisions is not permitted.
  • Can a company, affected by the COVID-19 measures, carry out activities other than those declared in the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises?
    Yes, a company can temporarily carry out its activities in a different way without any administrative steps relative to the CBE and without costs. This applies, for example, to a caterer wishing to function as a restaurant or to a nightclub wishing to function as a bar. These new activities must, of course, be carried out in accordance with the rules of the Protocol which will apply as a result.
  • What about the catering sector (horeca)?

    Establishments belonging to the catering sector and other food and drinking establishments will be closed until 19 November 2020, except for takeaways and food delivery and non-alcoholic beverages to take away until 10pm at the latest. Takeaway meals can be sold together and/or delivered with alcoholic beverages until 8.00pm.

    The following establishments can remain open:

    • All types of accommodation, including their restaurant, exclusively for guests staying there. This does not include their bars and other drinking establishments;
    • mass catering operations for school, migrant, residential and business communities. This includes, company, hospital, prison, school and care home restaurants.
    • Collective facilities for the homeless;
    • Food and drink outlets in airport transit zones.

    For those catering activities that remain authorised, the following modalities must be respected:

    • the tables must be positioned in such a way that a distance of at least 1.5 meters between dinner parties is guaranteed, unless the tables are separated by a plexiglass wall or an equivalent alternative with a minimum height of 1.8 meters;
    • a maximum of four people per table is allowed; An entire household can share a table, regardless of size;
    • only seats at tables are allowed;
    • each person must remain at their own table;
    • every person from the age of 12 is obliged to cover their mouth and nose with a face mask or any alternative in fabric, except when sitting at their own table. When it is not possible to wear a face mask or any fabric alternative due to medical reasons, a face shield can be worn;
    • wearing a face mask is mandatory for staff in the premises (if this is not possible for medical reasons, a face shield can be worn);
    • wearing a face mask is mandatory for kitchen staff (if this is not possible for medical reasons, a face shield can be worn);
    • no bar service is allowed;
    • the contact details of one customer per table, which may be limited to a telephone number or an email address, must be recorded on arrival and kept for 14 calendar days, while respecting the protection of personal data, to facilitate any subsequent contact tracing. Customers who refuse to complete their details will be refused entry to the establishment. These contact details may only be used for the purposes of tackling COVID-19 and they must be destroyed after 14 calendar days.

    In addition, the individual and collective use of hookahs is prohibited in places accessible to the public.

  • Is my local market and other itinerant activitiets open?

    Markets and small fairs may take place, subject to prior consent of the local authorities.

    Flea markets, bric-a-brac markets, year markets, Christmas markets and winter villages are forbidden.

    The necessary measures must be taken at all markets and small fairs (maximum of 200 visitors) permitted by the local authorities to protect everyone from the spread of the coronavirus, including the application of the social distancing rules, in particular maintaining a distance of 1.5 metres between each person. Where the local authorities do permit a market, they will establish the conditions for this. Appropriate and timely preventative measures will be taken, as recommended in the “General guide for re-opening shops to combat the spread of COVID-19”, which is available on the FPS Economy’s website.

    Each market and fair must comply with the following conditions:

    • The conditions determined by the local authorities:
    • The social distancing rules are being respected.
    • The maximum number of visitors permitted at a market is one per 1.5 running metres at the stall.
    • The maximum number of visitors admitted to a small fair or market is 200.
    • Market vendors and fairground vendors are required to cover their mouth and nose with a mask or any other fabric alternative (if this is not possible for medical reasons, a face shield can be worn);
    • Customers are required to wear a face mask when the local authorities impose it or in all situations where it is impossible to ensure compliance with the rules of social distancing.
    • Means for guaranteeing the necessary hand hygiene must be made available at the entrance and exit of the market or fair by the competent municipal authorities. Market vendors and funfair vendors must also make hand gels available;
    • The consumption of food and drinks on the spot is forbidden, takeaways are still permitted.
    • An organisation or system will be introduced to check how many customers are present at the market or fair;
    • A one-way traffic plan will be drawn up, with separate entrances and exits for the market or fair, unless a justified deviation from this is permitted by the local authorities in exceptional circumstances that provides for an alternative solution.
    • A maximum of two people can shop together. Social distancing rules must be respected, unless they are part of the same social bubble or live under the same roof. It is the competent municipal authority’s decision whether they allow for 2 people to shop together or not. One or two adults can accompany minors living under the same roof or a person in need of an escort.

    Fairs are not permitted to remain open between 1 am and 6 am.

  • What are the general principles for companies?

    The general principles are as follows:

    • In all companies, associations and services, teleworking is mandatory for all staff whose position is suitable for it without disrupting the continuity of business operations, activities and services.

    • All companies, associations and services can organise well-managed ‘return moments’ with respect for sanitary regulations.

    • Where teleworking cannot be applied, companies must take the appropriate measures:

      • ensuring maximum compliance with the social distancing rules, and in particular that a distance of 1.5m is maintained between each person;
      • if the social distancing rules cannot be guaranteed, ensuring at least an equivalent level of protection.

    The application of these principles must be guaranteed at company level and developed by taking preventative measures as defined in the “Generic guide for combatting the spread of COVID-19 at work” (available at: https://employment.belgium.be/sites/default/files/content/documents/Coronavirus/Genericguide.pdf); possibly supplemented by:

    • guidelines at sectoral level;
    • and/or guidelines at company level; and/or other appropriate measures offering at least an equivalent level of protection. Collective measures always take precedence over individual measures.

    Exceptions to the general principles:

    For private and public companies and services necessary for the protection of the vital interests of the Nation and the needs of the public (see Appendix MO)

    • Teleworking is mandatory in all companies for all staff whose position is suitable for it and, where possible, several days a week.
    • In addition, these companies and services are obliged to apply, to the extent possible, the social distancing rules.

    This exception also applies to producers, suppliers, contractors and subcontractors of goods, works and services which are essential to the activity of those companies and to the provision of those services.

  • Which companies are required to keep customer data for the purpose of contact tracing and under what conditions?

    The contact details of one visitor or participant per household must be recorded on arrival at the following places:

    • wellness centres;
    • group sport classes;
    • swimming pools;
    • casinos and amusement arcades;
    • Catering establishments authorised to open by ministerial order, such as hotels, airport restaurants, etc.

    Visitors or participants who refuse to do so will be refused access to the establishment on arrival.

    The details may be limited to a telephone number or an email address and are kept for 14 calendar days, while respecting the protection of personal data, to facilitate any subsequent contact tracing. These contact details may only be used for the purposes of tackling COVID-19.

    The data will be destroyed after 14 calendar days.

  • What are the additional obligations for employers and users who temporarily employ foreign employees or self-employed persons?

    The Ministerial Order provides that employers in the construction, cleaning, agriculture, horticulture and meat sectors, who temporarily employ an employee or self-employed person living or residing abroad, keep an up-to-date register.

    This register should be kept from when the activity starts until fourteen days after the activity has ended and must contain the following information about the employee or self-employed person:

    • identification data;
    • place of residence in Belgium;
    • telephone number;
    • the details of the person with whom he/she works.

    These contact details may only be used for the purposes of tackling COVID-19. They must be destroyed 14 days after the activity has concluded. The obligation to register does not apply to:

    • Frontier workers;
    • When the employee/self-employed person does not stay longer than 48 hours.

    If the employees and self-employed persons are required to complete the Passenger Locator Form (See question: “When should I fill in a Passenger Locator Form?” in the ‘International’ section), the employer must check whether they have done this. In the absence of proof that the form has been filled in, the employer must ensure that the form is completed at the latest when the activity starts.

    For more information, please consult Article 3 of the Ministerial Order amending the Ministerial Order of 18 October 2020 laying down urgent measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Health

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  • Infection and protection
    The hygiene measures are adapted over time, according to the evolution of the pandemic, scientific knowledge and insight. The most up-to-date information is available at the following address: https://covid-19.sciensano.be/nl
  • What are the recommendations for wearing face masks and gloves in public places?

    Anyone aged 12 and over is obliged to cover their mouth and nose with a face mask or any other fabric alternative in all situations where it is impossible to ensure compliance with the rules of social distancing. This obligation does not apply to:

    • people living under the same roof
    • children mixing up to the age of 12
    • people meeting each other as part of the “closer contact” rule
    • counsellors and their clients (people in need of counselling).

    In addition, wearing a face mask is compulsory in a number of places, regardless of the number of people present there:

    • on public transport from entering the airport, the station, on the platform or a bus, (pre-)metro, tram, train stop or any other means of transport organised by a public authority. Public transport drivers are not required to cover their nose and mouth, insofar as the driver is well-isolated in a cabin on the one hand, and a poster and/or sticker indicates to users the reason why the driver is not wearing a mask on the other;
    • At trade fairs including exhibitions;
    • for close-contact professions and their customers. The customer’s mask may only be removed by the customer for a specific facial treatment and only for the time strictly necessary for this treatment.
    • the establishments and places where catering activities are permitted, both for customers and staff, unless whilst eating, drinking or sitting at a table;
    • In shops and shopping centres;
    • In shopping streets, at markets or small fairs and in any private or public are with significant footfall, which is determined by the competent local authority and demarcated by a notice specifying the times at which the obligation applies.
    • In cinemas, theatres, concert halls and conference rooms, auditoriums, places of worship & reflection, museums and libraries;
    • In casinos and amusement arcades;

    When it is not possible to wear a face mask or any fabric alternative due to medical reasons, a face shield can be worn.

    People who are unable to wear a face mask, a fabric alternative or a face shield due to a disability, substantiated by a medical certificate, do not have to comply with this obligation.

    It should be noted, once again, that wearing a face mask is an additional protection that does not exempt people from applying the six golden rules for individual behaviour, i.e.:

    1. The hygiene measures (e.g. washing hands, coughing and sneezing hygiene, etc.) remain essential;
    2. Outdoor activities should be prioritised wherever possible. Where necessary, indoor areas must be adequately ventilated;
    3. Additional precautions must be taken for people belonging to a high-risk group.
    4. Social distancing of 1.5 meters is the norm, except for people living under the same roof or between people who have close contact on a regular basis, for children mixing up to the age of 12 years and between counsellors and their clients (people in need of counselling). People who are unable to respect social distancing must wear a face mask;
    5. It is necessary for everyone to limit their close contacts as much as possible. “Closer contact” implies contact which lasts longer than 15 minutes, without respecting social distancing and without wearing a face mask. During this phase of the epidemic, it is recommended that each person limits themselves to close contact with 1 person(outside the household).
    6. Gatherings are limited to a maximum of 4 people (excluding children under 12 years of age). Not including exceptions stipulated in the Ministerial Order.

    These six golden rules are instructions and not recommendations. They must therefore be adhered to by everyone.

    For more information about fabric face masks, please visit:
    https://www.info-coronavirus.be/nl/mondmasker/

    However, wearing gloves is not recommended, as it gives a false sense of security, people still touch their nose, mouth and eyes if they are wearing gloves, whereby they can still get infected. It is much better to regularly wash hands with soap and water.

  • Is it allowed to take off your face mask temporarily in a public place where it is mandatory to wear a face mask?
    Yes, the face mask may be removed temporarily, but only for the time strictly necessary for the consumption of food or beverages (e.g. ice cream, waffle, hamburger).
  • Are there special arrangements for wearing masks for people who are deaf or hard of hearing?
    Yes, in such cases, the interlocutor of a deaf or hard of hearing person can temporarily remove their mask so that the person can lip read. This is only possible for the time strictly necessary for the conversation, subject to social distancing.
  • Are visits allowed in residential care centres or residential care institutions?

    Please consult the website of the competent authorities for the terms of the visit:

  • Who is currently being tested?

    Detailed information concerning the procedure for general practitioners can be found on the Sciensano website: https://epidemio.wiv-isp.be/ID/Pages/2019-nCoV_procedures.aspx.

    More information: https://www.info-coronavirus.be/en/testing/

  • Which quarantine measures have been relaxed?

    It is necessary to set clear priorities for sample collection and laboratory analysis, which will serve public health and the containment of the epidemic in the best possible way. The priorities were set at the Inter-ministerial Conference on Public Health on 19 October 2020, as was the suspension of certain preventive screenings.

    This also means that the testing of individual asymptomatic persons after a high-risk contact will be suspended until 15 November. This concerns, in particular, high-risk contacts (outside the management of clusters) and people returning from red zones who, to date, have been tested on the basis of the PLF’s self-assessment tool.

    The following rules apply with regard to self-isolation and quarantine:

      1. Self-isolation period for people with a positive PCR test:
      • For patients with a positive PCR test with symptoms, self-isolation shall be lifted not earlier than 7 days after onset of symptoms AND up to at least 3 days without fever AND with improvement of respiratory symptoms.
      • For people with a positive PCR test who have no symptoms, the 7-day self-isolation period starts from the date the sample was collected.
      1. The period of quarantine for high-risk contacts that are not tested is set at 10 days with an additional 4 days of increased vigilance. These 10 days start from the last day the high-risk contact took place, or the last day of a trip to a red zone abroad. If this person develops symptoms, he/she will of course be tested.

    With regard to quarantine measures after returning from a trip abroad, please refer to the “International” section of this FAQ.

  • Will call centres for people in need (suicide risk, domestic violence, etc.) remain available?
    Yes, subject to social distancing measures by the call takers.

Education

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  • Do schools remain open?

    Please consult the website of the competent authorities for the terms of resuming education in September:

    In the context of compulsory education and part-time arts education, the specific conditions for organising lessons and schools (number of days at school, requirements for wearing a face mask, external activities, etc.) are determined by the Ministers of Education on the basis of the advice of experts, taking into account the health context and its possible developments.

    If special measures are taken at local level, the Ministers of Education establish a procedure in which the opinion of the experts is sought and in which the competent municipal authority and the relevant stakeholders are involved. Internships will be resumed in line with the pace at which the sectors concerned are restarting.

  • What about children of (possibly) infected parents?
    For more information regarding the quarantine measures, please refer to the question above “Which quarantine measures have been relaxed?”
  • What is the maximum capacity of an auditorium or lecture hall?

    The maximum capacity of an auditorium or classroom is defined in a protocol by the competent minister. If auditoriums or classrooms are used outside an educational context and no protocol applies, the maximum capacity is 40 people. A protocol can permit more than 40 persons. The protocols already in force on 23 October 2020 continue to apply. Nevertheless, only a deviation up to a maximum of 200 people is allowed, even if the protocol provides for a higher number of people.

    Authorisations granted pursuant to Article 12 of the ministerial order of 30 June 2020 and pursuant to article 18 of the ministerial order of 18 October 2020 apply to the extent that they do not derogate from the ministerial order and the protocol in force.

  • Can academies for music, drama and dance, and art academies continue to offer classes?
    Classes may continue to be held in accordance with the guidelines from the Communities and the additional measures provided by the federal government when a protocol allows it.
  • Can courses take place outside regular education?

    These courses may take place for a maximum of 40 people in the same indoor area. However, the number of participants may deviate if:

    • A protocol provides for a higher number, but a deviation is only allowed up to a maximum of 200 persons, even if the protocol provides for a higher number of persons;
    • the participants must be part of a school, residential, living or working community. Social distancing measures must always be respected.

Public services & leisure

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  • Which activities are allowed?

    It is forbidden to be on public roads and enter public areas between midnight and 5am, except for essential journeys which cannot be delayed, such as:

    • for access to urgent medical care, social services and the police;
    • to provide assistance and care for elderly people, minors, disabled people and vulnerable people;
    • work-related travel, including commuting;
    • escaping from a situation of intrafamily violence.
    • movements in the context of wild boar hunting for population control and nuisance.

    Except in the case of an urgent medical reason, the reason for presence or movement on public roads or in public areas must be justified at the first request of the police services.

    This measure should help to reduce illegal parties, gatherings and alcohol consumption and thus reduce the number of infections and the transmission of the virus.

    Private and public activities of a cultural, social, sports, tourist and recreational nature are permitted under the conditions further explained in this chapter.

  • Social contacts

    In order to prevent the spread of the virus, it is important to respect the six golden rules in all social contacts. In addition, a number of restrictions apply: It is advisable not to have close contact with more than one person who does not belong to your own household. “Close contact” implies contact which lasts longer than 15 minutes, without respecting the six golden rules such as social distancing and wearing a face mask.

    Each household may receive up to four of the same people, excluding children under the age of 12, every two-week window. Social distancing measures must be respected at all times.

    Gatherings in public areas are limited to a maximum of 4 people, excluding children under the age of 12.

    Social distancing of 1.5 meters continues to apply. When social distancing measures cannot be respected, a face mask must be worn. Social distancing and wearing a face mask is not mandatory:

    • for people living under the same roof;
    • for people meeting each other as part of the “closer contact” rule;
    • for children mixing up to the age of 12,
    • counsellors and their clients (people in need of counselling).
  • Are there any specific measures for public transport?
    Public transport remains operational. Public transport users who are 12 years of age or older are obliged to cover their mouths and noses by wearing a face mask or any other fabric alternative. This applies from the moment they enter the airport, station, at stops or on the platform, train or other means of transport organised by a public authority. If it is not possible to wear a face mask for medical reasons, a face shield can be worn. Public transport drivers are not required to cover their nose and mouth, insofar as the driver is well-isolated in a cabin on the one hand, and a poster and/or sticker indicates to users the reason why the driver is not wearing a mask on the other. This exception also applies, under the same conditions, to drivers of organised collective transport (e.g. school bus). Please consult the relevant websites for the available services of transport companies.
  • Are private buses and coaches allowed to organise passenger transport?
    Yes, buses and coaches may arrange organised transport, subject to the application of the necessary hygiene and preventive measures by passengers and transport companies. Passengers from the age of 12 must cover their mouth and nose by wearing a face mask or any other fabric alternative and, where possible, keep a distance of 1.5 metres. If it is not possible to wear a face mask for medical reasons, a face shield can be worn.
  • What about taxis (and other on-demand transport services)?
    Taxis are allowed to transport customers. A minimum distance of 1.5 metres must be maintained between each person. The number of persons that can be transported therefore varies according to the type of vehicle. A household or people who belong to “the closer contacts” can travel in 1 car. In this case, the social distancing rule does not apply. It is recommended to regularly ventilate and clean the vehicle. It is mandatory to wear a face mask to cover your nose and mouth, if the social distancing measures cannot be respected.
  • What measures have been taken with regard to carpooling? How many people are allowed to travel in a private car?
    As is the case for taxis a minimum distance of 1.5 metres between each person must be respected during transport. The number of persons that can be transported therefore varies according to the type of vehicle. This rule does not apply to people belonging to the same household or “the closer contacts”. It is recommended to ventilate and clean the car regularly. It is mandatory to wear a face mask to cover your nose and mouth, if the social distancing measures cannot be respected.
  • Which sports are allowed?

    Sports activities can take place, subject to compliance with the applicable protocols, indoor and outdoor, amateur or professional, and at least under the following conditions:

    Canteens and drinking establishments must be closed.

    • Sports activities in a non-organised context: these activities may be carried out with a maximum of 4 people, except for family members living under the same roof. This does not include children younger than 12.

    Sports activities in an organised context (i.e. in a club or association):

    These activities may take place indoors with:

    • a maximum of 40 participants The protocols that were already in force on 23 October 2020 continue to apply. Nevertheless, only a deviation up to a maximum of 200 people is allowed, even if the protocol provides for a higher number of people;
    • always in the presence of an adult trainer, coach or supervisor (unless the protocol deviates from this rule);
    • Offering and consuming drinks and food on the spot is prohibited.

    Authorisations granted pursuant to Article 12 of the Ministerial Decree of 30 June 2020 shall apply until 23 October 2020 at the latest.

    Nevertheless, the protocols already in force on 18 October 2020 will continue to apply until 23 October 2020. These activities may take place outdoors with:

    • a maximum of 50 participants ;
    • always in the presence of an adult trainer, coach or supervisor;

    Sports competitions

    Professional sports competitions can only take place without spectators. Non-professional sporting competitions can only take place for participants up to the age of 18. These competitions may only be attended by one member of the participants' household.

    The number of participants in a sports competition depends on whether it takes place indoors or outdoors.

    If the competition takes place indoors:

    • a maximum of 40 participants. The protocols that were already in force on 23 October 2020 continue to apply. Nevertheless, only a deviation up to a maximum of 200 people is allowed, even if the protocol provides for a higher number of people.
    • always in the presence of an adult trainer, coach or supervisor (unless the protocol deviates from this rule); If the competition takes place outdoors:
    • a maximum of 50 participants ;
    • always in the presence of an adult trainer, coach or supervisor; . If a sporting competition is organised on public roads, the prior authorisation of the competent municipal authority is required. Before submitting the application, the organiser must complete the online COVID Event Risk Model (CERM) application (www.covideventriskmodel.be) and attach the obtained certificate to the application file for the competent municipal authority.

    Canteens must be closed.

    Spectators must wear a face mask when required to by the protocol and in all situations where it is impossible to ensure compliance with the rules of social distancing.

  • Is the registration of participants' contact details mandatory at a sports competition or tournament?
    The registration of participants' contact details is mandatory for group sports lessons, but not for sports competitions or tournaments. Sports club cafeterias must comply with the rules applicable to the catering industry, hence the obligation to register customers also applies to them.
  • Can indoor play areas open?
    Yes, they are allowed to carry on their activities according to the protocol in force.
  • Are camps and activity clubs allowed?

    Yes, all types of camps are allowed (sports, artistic, language and youth camps). These activities may be organised subject to authorisation by the municipal authorities for one or more groups of up to fifty people, including participants and supervisors. These groups must each form a separate bubble during camp. All activities must be organised by bubble and groups must not be put together, except in situations where a larger group is allowed. Where possible, the supervisors and children over the age of 12 must comply with the social distancing rules, in particular keeping a distance of 1.5m between each person. Wearing a face mask is not mandatory in places where camps, training sessions and activities take place.

    Specifically for the youth sector there are protocols that can be consulted via the following link: https://ambrassade.be/nl/kennis/artikel/jeugdwerkregels-werkjaar

  • Can the regular activities of youth movements, STEM academies, youth centres and youth centres go ahead?

    Yes, to the extent that these activities are allowed by the competent ministers and as long as they take place with:

    • a maximum of 40 people indoors. A protocol can authorise more than 40 persons. The protocols that were already in force on 23 October 2020 continue to apply. Nevertheless, only a deviation up to a maximum of 200 people is allowed, even if the protocol provides for a higher number of people.
    • a maximum of 40 people outdoors;
    • always in the presence of a trainer or an adult supervisor;
    • and with respect for a distance of 1.5 meters between each person older than 12 years.

    Offering and consuming drinks and food indoors is prohibited.

  • What about tourism?
    Tourism and tourist activities are allowed throughout Belgian territory. All types of accommodation (hotels, Airbnb, cottages, campsites, etc.) may be opened subject to compliance with the applicable protocols. This includes their restaurant, exclusively for guests staying there, but not their bars and other drinking establishments With regards to the number of guests per residential unit, the same rules apply as for private gatherings at home. This means that each household is allowed to rent a residential unit with a maximum of 4 other people (excluding children under 12 years of age). Everyone must respect the advice in terms of “closer contacts”.
  • Are picnic areas authorised?
    Visitors are allowed to bring their own food and eat it in a family setting at picnic sites (in the open air, of course). Of course, the whole family can sit at the same table.
  • Can I rehearse with my amateur theatre company, dance group, orchestra, choir, etc.?

    Certain lessons and rehearsals may take place subject to conditions. These conditions are laid down in the protocols of the competent minister.

    These activities should always take place in an organised context, i.e. in group or organised by an association and should always be:

    • with a group of up to fifty people outdoors;
    • with a group of up to forty people indoors. The protocols already in force on 23 October 2020 continue to apply. Nevertheless, only a deviation up to a maximum of 200 people is allowed, even if the protocol provides for a higher number of people.

    Different rules may apply to professional artists (professional dancers, professional actors, etc.). In this case, a risk analysis and action plan must be drawn up at an individual level. On this basis, it can be assessed whether it is safe (and feasible) to restart the activity and the necessary measures can be taken to organise everything in the safest possible way.

  • Are cultural performances with an audience allowed?

    The maximum number of spectators varies depending on whether the performance takes place indoors or outdoors. The protocols already in force on 23 October 2020 continue to apply.

    • Outdoors: a maximum of 400 people. A protocol may allow an audience of more than 400 people under the condition that one compartment contains a maximum of 200 people;
    • Indoors: a maximum of 40 people, a protocol for a specific sector or activity can deviate from the maximum of 40 people. Nevertheless, only a deviation up to a maximum of 200 people is allowed, even if the protocol provides for a higher number of people.

    For one-off performances on the public road, the prior authorisation of the competent municipal authority is required. Before submitting the application, the organiser must complete the online COVID Event Risk Model (CERM) application (www.covideventriskmodel.be) and attach the obtained certificate to the application file for the competent municipal authority.

    Authorisations granted pursuant to Article 12 of the ministerial order of 30 June 2020 and to article 18 of the ministerial order of 18 October 2020 remain applicable to the extent that they do not derogate from the ministerial order and the protocol in force.

    Offering and consuming drinks and food on the spot is prohibited.

    In addition, everyone over the age of 12 is obliged to wear a face mask or any other fabric alternative in theatres and concert halls. Apart from these places, it is compulsory to wear a face mask in all situations where it is impossible to ensure compliance with the rules of social distancing. In those areas of cinemas, theatres and concert halls that are not open to the public, it is not compulsory to wear a face mask under the following two conditions: the areas are completely separate from the areas that are open to the public and it does not contravene any guide or protocol that may be in force.

  • Can general meetings or other meetings of clubs or associations take place?
    Yes, these are considered to be organised activities of clubs and associations and can therefore take place indoors with a maximum of 40 people taking into account the social distancing measures. Offering and consuming drinks and food on the spot is prohibited.
  • Can general meetings of co-owners take place?
    A general meeting of co-owners is considered to be a professional activity that can be organised under the current measures provided that the strict safety regulations in the sector guide are met; the maximum number of permitted attendants is 40 persons. The number of participants can always be limited by proxy, if necessary. Finally, it can be confirmed that an evolutionary interpretation of Section 577-6 of the Civil Code allows co-owners to participate remotely in the general meeting (e.g. via video link). Offering and consuming drinks and food on the premises is prohibited.
  • How about events?

    Events are allowed under strict conditions.

    It is compulsory to wear a face mask when required to by the protocol and in all situations where it is impossible to ensure compliance with social distancing rules. When it is not possible to wear a face mask or any fabric alternative due to medical reasons, a face shield can be worn.

    Offering and consuming drinks and food on the spot is prohibited. The maximum number of attendees varies depending on whether the event takes place indoors or outdoors. The protocols already in force on 23 October 2020 continue to apply.

    • Outdoors: a maximum of 400 people. A protocol may allow an audience of more than 400 people under the condition that one compartment contains a maximum of 200 people;
    • Indoors: a maximum of 40 people, a protocol for a specific sector or activity can deviate from the maximum of 40 people. Nevertheless, only a deviation up to a maximum of 200 people is allowed, even if the protocol provides for a higher number of people.

    In order to limit the further spread of the virus, each event must comply with certain rules.

    • For events on public roads, it will suffice to:
    • For events which do not take place on public roads and for which no protocol applies, the nine minimum rules must be adhered to (Article 5 of the Ministerial Order).

    One-time events An online application (COVID Event Risk Model) has been made available (www.covideventriskmodel.be), which serves as a reference for local authorities when granting permits for these events. It is the responsibility of the organiser to fill in all the data in the application and to deliver the results (in the form of a certificate) to the municipal authorities. A positive outcome from the CERM only gives an indication and is therefore not an automatic consent. The municipal authority includes the results in the multidisciplinary risk analysis before granting the admission decision.

    On public roads:

    • the CERM is mandatory
    • Applicable sector and CERM protocols
    • permission from the mayor is required

    Not on public roads:

    • the CERM is recommended
    • If no protocol is applicable, the eight minimum rules must be adhered to.

    Events on a regular basis For events organised on a regular basis in permanent infrastructures such as theatres, cinemas, stadiums, congress halls, protocols have been established with the relevant ministers. The protocols already in force on 23 October 2020 continue to apply according to the restrictions as stiulated above.

    Exceptions for permanent infrastructures

    Authorisations granted pursuant to Article 12 of the ministerial order of 30 June 2020 and to article 18 of the ministerial order of 18 October 2020 remain applicable to the extent that they do not derogate from the ministerial order and the protocol in force.

  • Can a conference be organised?

    Yes, these are considered as an event and can be organised according to the above-mentioned rules in force for events. In addition, company seminars can be organised for their employees under the same conditions as those for conferences. Offering and consuming drinks and food on the spot is prohibited.

    In addition, everyone over the age of 12 is obliged to wear a face mask or any other fabric alternative in conference rooms and auditoriums. In those areas of conference rooms and auditoriums that are not open to the public, it is not compulsory to wear a face mask under the following two conditions: the areas are completely separate from the areas that are open to the public and it does not contravene any guide or protocol that may be in force.

  • How about demonstrations?

    Demonstrations on public roads are allowed with a maximum of 200 participants (400 from 1 September 2020). For demonstrations, permission must always be requested from the competent municipal authority. Before submitting the application, the organiser fills in the online COVID Event Risk Model (CERM) application (www.covideventriskmodel.be) and attaches the complete obtained certificate to the application file for the competent municipal authority.

    In any case, the demonstrations must always be static and take place in a place where the safety distances can be respected. It is compulsory to wear a face mask in all situations where it is impossible to ensure compliance with social distancing rules.

    Demonstrations may not take place between 1 am and 6 am.

  • How about receptions and banquets?
    Receptions and banquets are prohibited. A reception after a funeral can be held for a maximum of 40 people and with respect for the rules of the catering activities that are authorised.
  • Can faith-based services continue?

    Religious services and faith-based gatherings (weekly or daily as well as services or celebrations on the occasion of births, baptisms, marriages and deaths) may be resumed, subject, among other things, to the following rules:

    • the safety distance of 1.5 metres must be respected with observance of a predetermined maximum number of people per building, with a maximum of 100 people per building (200 from 1 September 2020);
    • Physical contact between people and with objects touched by different participants is prohibited;
    • The provision of means to ensure the necessary hand hygiene at the entrance and exit.
    • Anyone aged 12 and over is obliged to wear a face mask or any other safe, fabric alternative in places of worship & reflection and in all situations where it is impossible to ensure compliance with the rules of social distancing. If this is not possible for medical reasons, a face shield can be worn. In those areas of places of worship & reflection that are not open to the public, it is not compulsory to wear a face mask under the following two conditions: the areas are completely separate from the areas that are open to the public and it does not contravene any guide or protocol that may be in force.

    A protocol can allow more than 40 visitors per building; the protocols already in force on 18 October 2020 apply until 23 October 2020 at the latest. Nevertheless, a deviation up to a maximum of 200 people is allowed if the protocol provides for a higher number of people.

  • Under what conditions can civil marriages take place?
    They can take place in the presence of up to 40 people, subject to social distancing measures. Organising a banquet or reception after the ceremony is not permitted.
  • Is it allowed to organise a ceremony somewhere else (for example, outdoors)?
    Yes, under the same conditions as included in the protocols of religious services and philosophical meetings. They must therefore never be organised for more than 40 people (except when the protocol authorises it, with a maximum of 200 persons), regardless of whether it is indoors or outdoors.
  • What rules apply to funerals and cremations?
    These can take place but always with respect for the social distancing measures (1.5 meters between individuals) and with a maximum of 40 people and without the possibility of exposing the body. Funeral receptions may be organised for a maximum of 40 people, subject to compliance with the rules applicable to the hospitality sector.
  • When should the COVID Event Risk Model be used?

    This application should be used for:

    • all events, performances and sports competitions on public roads;
    • demonstrations;
    • sports competitions
    • ruling on requests for exceptions to the maximum number of people allowed for indoor activities.

    It is the responsibility of the organiser to fill in all the data in the application and to deliver the results (in the form of a certificate) to the municipal authorities. The result of the CERM is indicative, it helps the organiser to identify additional appropriate measures to ensure the safety of visitors. It helps the municipal authorities make the admission decision. In all other cases, it is recommended that the organiser use the CERM tool to identify the appropriate measures. However, this is not mandatory.

Transport & International

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  • Is travelling from Belgium abroad permitted?

    In principle, travelling is allowed, provided that the possible measures on your return to Belgium are respected (always fill in the PLF and, if necessary, also fill in the self-assessment, go into quarantine and get tested). To certain destinations, however, travel is not recommended or increased vigilance is required.

    However, entry into the country of destination is subject to the consent of the country in question. All the information for travellers is compiled on the website of the FPS Foreign Affairs on a map supplemented with travel advice for each country: https://diplomatie.belgium.be/en

    The FPS Foreign Affairs uses colour codes on its home page to indicate whether travel to a particular country or zone is possible. On this website, you will find a map and a table, showing the same information, as well as detailed information about each country. Below are the COVID-19 colours, based on information from CELEVAL and the FPS Public Health: Select and click on a country or region. The corresponding measures appear. Then click on the country name for detailed travel advice. Please consult this advice before and during your trip.

    The following colour codes are used:

    • Red: people are being advised not to travel to these countries/zones due to the unfavourable epidemiological situation OR because the country in question does not allow Belgians to enter the territory.
    • Orange: travelling to these countries/zones is possible, however, people are being advised not to travel to these countries/zones due to the unfavourable epidemiological situation. The Belgian authorities recommend increased vigilance.
    • Light Orange: travel is possible, however, the authorities of this country impose a COVID-19 test and/or quarantine on travellers from Belgium.
    • Green: travel is possible without additional restrictions. However, it remains important to follow the travel advice. Hygiene and social distancing rules still apply.

    Travel advice is highly subject to change and travel to a destination may be discouraged at any time. If you are planning to make an essential journey abroad, it is highly recommended to consult the travel advice from Foreign Affairs, which is continually updated: https://diplomatie.belgium.be/en/services/travelling_abroad/travel_advice_by_country People travelling abroad should be aware that new COVID-19 breeding grounds abroad can greatly affect their trip and that repatriation cannot be guaranteed if commercial flights are cancelled or borders closed.

  • Travelling to Belgium from abroad: Do you have Belgian nationality or are you a citizen of the EU, the Schengen Area or the UK or resident in Belgium, the EU, the Schengen Area or the UK or a relative of any of the above-mentioned individuals?
    You may always travel or return to Belgium, regardless of the country of departure.
  • Travelling to Belgium from abroad: You do not have Belgian nationality but you are resident of a country outside the EU, the Schengen Area and the UK and you are travelling to Belgium from countries mentioned on the FPS Foreign Affairs website?

    It is possible to travel from these countries to Belgium. Please consult the list at: https://diplomatie.belgium.be/en/services/travel_to_belgium The list is reviewed every two weeks and published thereafter.

    What to do if the country of destination requests a negative COVID-19 test before entry into its territory?

    • You can ask to be tested in a laboratory, but not in the test centres that collaborate with the federal platform (the government asks to avoid these preventive tests as much as possible). Laboratories have the possibility to refuse the analysis of the test in order to give priority to the mandatory testing. These tests (on a voluntary basis) are at your own expense.
    • You can ask to be tested at Brussels Airport by registering in advance via “https://www.brusselsairport.be/nl/passengers/the-impact-of-the-coronavirus/covid-19-test-centre-at-brussels-airport" and by clicking on “Register here for a test without prescription code”.
  • Travelling to Belgium from abroad: You do not have Belgian nationality but you are resident of a country outside the EU, the Schengen Area and the UK and you are travelling to Belgium from countries NOT mentioned on the FPS Foreign Affairs website?

    Non-essential travel from these countries to Belgium is prohibited. Please consult the list at: https://diplomatie.belgium.be/en/services/travel_to_belgium

    The temporary travel restrictions do not apply to key workers or people travelling for compelling reasons such as:

      1. Health professionals, health researchers and professionals providing care for the elderly travelling for work;
      1. Frontier workers travelling for work;
      1. Seasonal agricultural workers travelling for work;
      1. Transport staff travelling for work;
      1. Diplomats, staff of international organisations and people invited by international organisations whose physical presence is required for the proper functioning of those organisations, military staff, Civil Protection staff, police officials and humanitarian staff, when performing their duties;
      1. Passengers in transit, irrespective of where they are travelling from;
      1. Passengers travelling for compelling family reasons, i.e.:
      • travel justified by family reunification
      • visits to a legal spouse or partner, when both do not live together for professional or personal reasons
      • travel to an unregistered partner who does not live under the same roof
      • travel in the context of co-parenting
      • travel in the context of funerals or cremations (kinship = first and second degree)
      • travel in the context of civil and religious marriages (kinship = first and second degree)
      1. Mariners travelling for work;
      1. People travelling for humanitarian reasons;
      • This includes travel for compelling medical reasons or to continue urgent medical treatment as well as to provide assistance or care to an elderly, minor, disabled or vulnerable person;
      1. People travelling for study purposes;
      • This includes travel by pupils, students and trainees who are undergoing training as part of their studies and researchers with a hosting agreement
      1. Highly qualified professionals travelling for economically necessary reasons which cannot be postponed; including professional sportsmen and sportswomen with elite sport status and cultural sector professionals with a combined licence, travelling for work.

    These specific conditions are in addition to the normal conditions of access to Belgium. It is, for instance, important to always take into account which visa procedures are in force. For passengers requiring a visa to come to Belgium, it should be noted that, due to COVID-19, some visa procedures have not (yet) resumed in all places. Finally, passengers can only enter Belgium or the EU if they comply with existing EU and national regulations, which determine the conditions under which third-country nationals can enter the territory. This is independent of the specific restrictions or measures temporarily in place for public health reasons within the COVID-19 context.

    For citizens of countries not requiring a visa, the following rules apply: the person must travel with an essential journey certificate. This certificate is issued by the competent Belgian embassy or consulate if it is proven that the journey is essential. An essential journey certificate is not mandatory if the essential nature of the journey is evidenced by the traveller’s documents. For example: seamen (Seaman’s Discharge Book), transit passengers (airline ticket) and diplomats (diplomatic passport). For more information about this procedure, please go to: https://dofi.ibz.be/sites/dvzoe/EN/Pages/Travel-to-Belgium.aspx

  • May I visit my partner?

    Visiting a partner who does not live under the same roof is considered an essential journey. However, it is subject to a number of additional conditions: prior to the application (citizens of countries requiring a visa) or the planned travel date (citizens of countries not requiring a visa), you must:

    • either provide evidence of having lived together for 6 months in Belgium or another country;
    • or provide evidence of having a relationship of at least 1 year during which the partners have seen each other physically at least twice and for a minimum duration of 20 days. If a visit had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 measures, providing evidence of a planned visit can count for the second visit;
    • or have a child together.

    The partner abroad must apply for a visa or proof of essential travel (if not subject to visa requirements) via the Belgian diplomatic post. Where possible, the diplomatic post will issue these visas or proofs. The file will be handed over to the immigration service should this not be the case.

  • What travel-related measures are in place when travelling from Belgium abroad?
    From a Belgian perspective, there are no measures in place for travelling abroad. However, some countries may adopt restrictive measures. It is therefore extremely important to check the travel advice for each country on the FPS Foreign Affairs website before departure in order to know the situation and the measures taken in the country of destination See: https://diplomatie.belgium.be/en
  • What travel-related measures are in place when travelling/returning to Belgium from abroad?

    Upon arrival in Belgium, the following three measures must be adhered to:

    • It is mandatory to fill in the Passenger Locator Form (PLF) with an optional self-assessment
    • Go into quarantine
    • Undergo testing if you have symptoms

    The Belgian approach for people returning from abroad depends on whether they are returning from a red, orange or green zone. Depending on the country or region you are travelling from, different measures apply after your return to Belgium.

    • Red zones are regions or countries where people are at a high risk of infection or which have been placed back into lockdown by the country in question. Upon return, it will be determined whether you should quarantine and should be tested or not through completion of the PLF and self-assessment (optional). See below “Which travellers should go into quarantine and undergo testing”
    • Orange zones are regions or countries for which a moderately elevated risk of infection has been identified. Upon your return, you must complete the PLF. Completing the self-assessment is optional.
    • Orange zones are regions or countries for which a low risk of infection has been identified. When returning from orange or green zones, there are no quarantine or testing conditions upon arrival in Belgium. Upon your return, you must complete the PLF, without the self-assessment. No further measures should be followed.

    The zones and measures are published on a map on the Foreign Affairs website: https://diplomatie.belgium.be.

    • Please note: the colour on the map is the colour of the Belgian travel advice to that country. You must click on the region to see which return conditions apply.

    The Coronalert app is available since 1 October. For more information, please go to: https://coronalert.be/en/faq/

  • When should I fill in a “Passenger Locator Form” (PLF)?

    ALL travellers to Belgium, regardless of the means of transport chosen, must complete the Passenger Locator Form no earlier than 48 hours before arriving in Belgium.

    • Exception: People not travelling to Belgium via an air or sea carrier and who have been abroad for a maximum of 48 hours, or will remain in Belgium for a maximum of 48 hours, do not have to fill in a PLF document. A separate form must be completed for each passenger aged 16 years and over. The details of children under the age of 16 must be filled in on the form of an accompanying adult, if this is the case. If children under the age of 16 are travelling alone, they must also fill in a form. It is mandatory to fill in the Passenger Locator Form completely and truthfully. Failure to complete this form may result in criminal prosecution, refusal of boarding by the carrier and refusal of entry into the territory.
  • How should I fill in the Passenger Locator Form (PLF)?

    The PLF should be completed electronically where possible. The form can be found here: https://travel.info-coronavirus.be/

    • After the passenger has submitted the form, he/she will receive a receipt with a QR code via e-mail. Where applicable, the passenger must show this to the carrier on departure and at the border check on arrival.
    • The electronic form also includes the option to complete a Coronavirus Infection Risk Self-Assessment Questionnaire. Based on the result, a text message will be sent with the measures to be taken.

    If it is not possible for the passenger to use the electronic Passenger Locator Form (e-PLF), a paper version of the Passenger Locator Form can be used. The PLF can be found here: https://dofi.ibz.be/sites/dvzoe/FR/Documents/BELGIUM_PassengerLocatorForm.PDF

    Travellers must download, complete and sign this document before arriving in Belgium. You must be able to hand over the original to the enforcement authorities each time an inspection is carried out.

    • Passengers travelling from a country within the Schengen Area will have to show their form and hand it over to the carrier when boarding.
    • Passengers travelling from a country outside the Schengen Area must hand in their form upon arrival at the border control.
    • People not travelling by plane or boat should submit the PLF within 12 hours of their arrival in Belgium. This can be done by e-mailing it to PLFBelgium@health.fgov.be or by copying the data from the paper version into the electronic version of the Passenger Locator Form.

    If the information entered on the form changes within 14 days of arrival, you must report this preferably by filling in a new e-PLF via https://travel.info-coronavirus.be/ with the complete and updated details. If you are using the paper version, please e-mail the modified version to PLFBelgium@health.fgov.be.

  • What does 'quarantine' mean?

    Quarantine means staying indoors (including garden or terrace) in a single place, which must be specified in advance via the Passenger Locator Form. This can be a private address (with family or with friends), or another place to stay, such as a hotel. If the person falls ill, all members of the same household are close contacts. During this period, contact with other people, including people in the same house, must be completely avoided (always keep a distance of 1.5m).

    • Towels, bed linen and eating or drinking utensils should not be shared with the other members of the same household and, if possible, the person should use a separate toilet and bathroom.

    • Quarantine in an environment with people at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 is not recommended (e.g. people older than 65, people with a serious underlying medical condition such as severe heart, lung or kidney disease, people with decreased immunity).

    • No visits are allowed.

    • Working and going to school is not allowed, with the exclusion of the exceptions mentioned below. Teleworking is permitted.

    • For all journeys (from the time of arrival in Belgium) the use of public transport must be avoided.

    • The health situation must be closely monitored. If symptoms of COVID-19 appear, the local GP must be contacted immediately. If symptoms of COVID-19 appear, you must self-isolate and contact your local GP immediately.

    • It is mandatory to be reachable and cooperate with the health authorities throughout the quarantine period.

    • Going outside is only allowed for the following essential activities, as long as particular attention is paid to social distancing and hygienic measures and a (fabric) face mask is worn:

      • Urgent medical attention;
      • Purchase of basic necessities, such as food and medicines, but only if no one else can provide them and by exception;
      • Settling urgent legal/financial issues;

    Quarantine versus isolation: the difference If you are required to go into isolation, it is for a period of 7 days. That’s what happens when you’re ill or have tested positive. From the moment the symptoms appear, you will be contagious for no more than 7 days. Additional measures to be taken in case of self-isolation:

    • Wear a face mask at home to protect your housemates
    • Stay as much as possible in a well-ventilated separate room to control the spread of the virus
    • Ask others for help with your shopping
    • You do not have to wait to be contacted by the call centre for contact tracing, instead you can contact them yourself.
  • Which travellers should go into quarantine and undergo testing?

    A. Quarantine

    People returning from red zones, who have been abroad for more than 48 hours and who will stay in Belgium for more than 48 hours, are considered “high-risk contacts”. This means that they must quarantine and undergo a COVID-19 test.

    From 21 October to 15 November, only people with symptoms should be tested when they return from a red zone.

    Children under the age of 6 should not be tested either, but they must respect quarantine.

    The quarantine period starts on the day after leaving the red zone, provided that it is clearly and objectively specified on the PLF. If not, quarantine will commence as soon as the traveller arrives in Belgium, after a stay in a red zone, unless stipulated otherwise by the treating physician/decree of the federated entities.

    The quarantine period ends 10 days after the last day the traveller was in a red zone and is followed by a period of 4 days of increased vigilance. If symptoms occur during quarantine, the person must, of course, be tested. If the test is positive, the person concerned must self-isolate at least 7 days from the date of onset of symptoms.

    The obligation to go into quarantine and take a test can be waived on the basis of the optional Coronavirus Infection Risk Self-Assessment Questionnaire as part of the Passenger Locator Form.

    • Based on the completed Passenger Locator Form, you will be notified via text message whether you should quarantine and when you should get a test.
    • The red zones are published on a map on the Foreign Affairs website: https://diplomatie.belgium.be.

    B. Test

    From 21 October to 15 November, people who have no symptoms when they return from a red zone do not have to be tested. Only people with symptoms should be tested.

    If you return from a country or a region in a red zone:

    • You have symptoms: mandatory test
    • You have no symptoms: Fill out the Passenger Locator Form and self-evaluation 48 hours prior to your arrival. This form will evaluate the risk of infection by the coronavirus.
      • High risk: You will receive guidelines for going into quarantine for 10 days (for more information on quarantine, see “A. Quarantine”).
      • Low risk: no quarantine upon arrival.

  • What are the exceptions to the quarantine measures?

    The obligation to go into quarantine when returning from a red zone can be waived on the basis of the optional Coronavirus Infection Risk Self-Assessment Questionnaire as part of the Passenger Locator Form. The obligation to go into quarantine can be temporarily lifted in order to fulfil an essential activity but only if this activity cannot be postponed.

    • For example: a foreign student must stay in quarantine for two weeks before starting his/her studies, a person travelling to a funeral can attend the funeral, however, he/she must stay in quarantine for the remainder of his/her stay.
    • During these activities, social distancing and other protective measures must be respected at all times.
    • For any other reasons not linked to the essential activity, quarantine must be respected.

    For short-stay travel (less than 48 hours) in Belgium or abroad, please tick the relevant box on the Passenger Locator Form and no text message will be sent. In this case, quarantine is not mandatory.

  • What are the exceptions to testing?
    From 21 October to 15 November, people who have no symptoms when they return from a red zone do not have to be tested. Only people with symptoms should be tested. Children under the age of 6 should not be tested, but they must respect quarantine.
  • Quarantine versus isolation: the difference

    If you are required to go into isolation, it is for a period of 7 days. That’s what happens when you’re ill or have tested positive.

    The obligation of self-isolation is waived when the following 3 conditions are met:

    • not earlier than 7 days after the onset of symptoms and
    • at least 3 days without a temperature and
    • an improvement of respiratory symptoms.

    · Additional measures to be taken in case of self-isolation: o Wear a face mask at home to protect your housemates o Stay as much as possible in a well-ventilated separate room to control the spread of the virus o Ask others for help with your shopping o You do not have to wait to be contacted by the call centre for contact tracing, instead you can contact them yourself.

  • What happens if the travel advice is ignored? What about travel insurance if these people fall ill while travelling?
    The general terms and conditions of a specific travel insurance policy determine the cases in which the travel insurance intervenes. If you ignore the advice not to travel and fall ill at your holiday destination, the general terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy will stipulate whether there will be cover for medical and/or repatriation costs. In the majority of the cases, there will be no cover. With regard to hospitalisation insurance, the general terms and conditions will also specify the conditions under which the hospitalisation insurer intervenes abroad.

Didn’t find an answer to your question?

Consult the information available on the websites of the competent authorities or call 0800 14 689.