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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. Some cities or towns may also have additional measures. Check the website of your city or town. The rules are valid from July 29th.

Please note: some cities and municipalities will also have extra rules in place. Check the website of your city or municipality.

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.

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. Go shopping alone and do not take longer than 30 minutes.
  • Night shops are open until 10:00 p.m.
  • Markets are open.
  • You must wear a face mask. This is mandatory.
  • 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.
  • Pubs and restaurants are open until 1:00 a.m.
    • It is best to make a reservation.
    • You can go to bars or restaurants only with your family (or the people you live with) and your 5 stable contacts.
    • Stay seated at the table.
    • You must wear a face mask. This is mandatory. If you are sitting down at a table, you do not need to wear a face mask.
    • You must leave your contact details.
  • 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

  • Each family (or anyone living together with others) may meet up with a maximum of 5 people. These must always be the same people.
  • If you can respect the distance of 1.5 meters, then you can do activities with a maximum of 10 people, for example walking or cycling.

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, such as village fetes, sports competitions or cultural exhibitions, there will be a maximum number of people allowed to attend.
    • a maximum of 100 people inside and 200 people outside.
    • Each organisation has specific rules. Check the website
  • Camps for children may go ahead.
  • 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,
    • public buildings,
    • 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 yet allowed?

  • Discotheques or night clubs are not yet allowed to reopen.
  • Big events (such as festivals) are not allowed.

Sport

  • If you are part of a sports club you are allowed to exercise together with a maximum of 50 people.
  • 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.

Religion

  • Worship services are allowed.
    • A maximum of 100 people may attend.
    • Physical contact is not allowed.
    • You must wear a face mask (from the age of 12 years). This is mandatory

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 new academic year.

Do you have a question about nurseries or schools?

Frequently asked questions

Go to results Examples: masks school fever train airport

Results

General measures

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  • What can I do myself?

    The National Security Council of 27 July 2020 has decided on the basis of a new Celeval report, reinforce the two-pronged strategy - national and local - to tackle the spread of the virus.

    Some activities are prohibited as they either involve too close contact between people or mass gatherings.

    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. Hygiene measures remain essential;
    2. Outdoor activities should be prioritised wherever possible. Where necessary, rooms must be adequately ventilated;
    3. Additional precautions must be taken for people belonging to a high-risk group. With this in mind, a charter has been drawn up to help elderly people find their place in society in complete safety. You can consult it at the following address (Dutch only): https://d34j62pglfm3rr.cloudfront.net/downloads/Chartre_Senior_NL.pdf;
    4. Social distancing of 1.5 metres continues to apply, except for people within the same household, for children up to 12 years of age and for people with whom there is closer contact.. People who cannot respect social distancing must wear a face mask;
    5.    Every household may meet up to 5 persons, always the same persons, in private meetings, including those taking place in places open to the public. Children under the age of 12 are not included in these 5 persons. 
      
    6.    Gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people (excluding children under 12 years of age). 
  • Is there a regulatory framework for organising activities or opening a business?

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

    • Organised activities can take place, with protocols or the application of the general rules provided to protect both users and staff. These protocols are being drawn up in consultation with the competent ministers;
    • The protocols are evaluated on a regular basis. If there is no protocol for a sector, the general rules provided for in the prevailing ministerial order apply. To the extent possible, links to the available protocols will be published on the website www.info-coronavirus.be/nl/protocollen;
    • Teleworking is strongly recommended where possible.
  • 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 and must repeal their previous orders after the publication of the Ministerial Order. The aim is to harmonise the measures throughout Belgian territory. Nevertheless, and following the resurgence occurring in parts of our country, the Ministerial Order has been amended to allow governors and mayors to take additional measures imposed by the health situation, subject to the following conditions:

    1.    If a mayor decides to take preventive measures, they will do so in consultation with the governor and the competent authorities of the federated entities.
      
    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:
      

    • They must take the additional measures required by the situation; • They must immediately inform the governor and the competent authorities of the federated entities; • 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 uncontrolled growth of the pandemic and additional reinforcement of the measures. 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.
  • If the chosen social bubble contains grandparents, may they look after the grandchildren?
    Yes, if they are part of the social bubble. However, if they are part of a high-risk group (65+, poor health, etc.) this is strongly discouraged.
  • 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

  • food bank bar lawyer volonteer café carwash hairdresser work employee employer workplace shops construction finance foodtruck independent tourism working from home shift company online shopping internship intern chip shop restaurant control garage finance
  • What are the general principles for the economy?

    A balance was sought between maintaining physical and mental health and restarting the economy. During this new phase of scaling back the lockdown measures, all economic activities may be resumed, with the exception of those which still pose too large a risk to public health. Teleworking is still strongly recommended if possible. Remote transactions and meetings should be given preference where possible. For activities which have resumed, the protocols established and approved by the competent authorities must be respected. The protocols are being drawn up in consultation between the representatives of the sectors and the competent ministers (including the ministers of the federated entities if the matters fall within their competence, if necessary with consultation of the GEES. The protocols applicable to the various sectors may be re-evaluated and, if possible, made more flexible from 1 July 2020 if circumstances allow. This will have to be in agreement with the competent authority for each protocol. Conversely, certain conditions may become stricter if the epidemic develops unfavourably. To the extent possible, links to the available protocols will be published on the website www.info-coronavirus.be.

    If there is no protocol for a sector, the eight 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 COVID-19 coronavirus infection, in order to facilitate contact tracing.
  • 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.

    Tips for the reopening of businesses: https://economie.fgov.be/nl/publicaties/coronavirus-gids-voor-de

  • What are the specific measures for shops that remain open?

    These companies may resume their activities in accordance with the minimum general rules set out in the three guides, possibly supplemented by rules laid down in the sectoral protocol applicable to them and published on the website of the public service responsible for them. If there is no protocol, they must follow the general rules of the Ministerial Order, which are listed above. As regards shops or businesses that work by appointment, these can admit customers for as long as they usually do and without limitation of the number of persons;

    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 customer per 10m² is admitted for a period not longer than necessary and usual;
    • 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.
    • Shopping must be done alone, but an adult can accompany minors living under the same roof or a person in need of an escort;
    • Shopping must not take longer than necessary and usual.

    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 identifying the shopping streets, and private and public places with significant footfall, within their municipality.

    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, 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:

    • Shopping must be done alone except where an appointment has been made. An exception can be made for an adult accompanying a minor living under the same roof or a person in need of an escort;
    • Shopping is allowed for a maximum period of 30 minutes per shop except where an appointment has been made;
  • Who is responsible for monitoring compliance in shops?
    It is the responsibility of the shop owner to enforce the rules on social distancing and wearing face masks. The owner must take the appropriate measures to ensure compliance. If they rely on a security firm, this must be 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.
  • 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.
  • Are there any specific restrictions with regard to opening hours for casinos and amusement arcades?
    Yes, they may carry out their activities from the usual opening hours until one 1am, unless the municipal authorities require them to close earlier. They must remain closed from 1am for a continuous period of five consecutive hours.
  • 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 social bubble. 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.
  • Are changes of crew for seafarers subject to the same regime as those for essential services?
    Yes, the same rules apply.
  • How should I clean and disinfect my retail space?

    No specific measures are necessary for disinfecting the area. It is enough to thoroughly clean the office/area where the person works and common areas such as kitchen and toilets, with the usual detergents. General hand hygiene must continue to be encouraged among staff.

    Any common cleaning agent can be used to clean work surfaces, floors, walls, etc. The user instructions must be followed rigorously and always ensure to rinse thoroughly with potable water. Only authorised biocides may be used to disinfect the rooms in your company. The conditions of use on the label and stipulated in the authorisation document must be strictly adhered to. For example, it may be necessary to protect or remove foodstuffs from the treated area or to thoroughly rinse the treated surfaces with potable water. It is prohibited to spray biocides onto fruit and vegetables with a view to ‘disinfect’ them. Biocides can be harmful to human health. You can consult the list of authorised biocides and their specific conditions of use via the following link: https://www.health.belgium.be/en/list-authorised-biocides-and-annual-report.

  • Are volunteers allowed to offer their services to companies in crucial sectors?

    According to the Volunteer Act of 3 July 2005, volunteers can in principle only be deployed by organisations that pursue a not-for-profit objective. The Volunteer Act does not allow volunteer work for commercial enterprises in principle.

    The scope of the Act of 3 July 2005 has been widened to include organisations that are recognised by the competent authorities as regards assistance and care for the elderly or relief and accommodation for the elderly on the one hand, and those belonging to the private commercial sector on the other, for the period between 1 May 2020 and 30 June 2020.

  • What about the catering sector (horeca)?

    From the age of 12, every customer of a catering establishment 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.

    Catering establishments may receive customers, subject to compliance with the protocol, which includes the following conditions:

    • the tables must be positioned in such a way that a distance of at least 1.5 meters between the tables 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 ten persons per table is allowed (not including children younger than 12). It is the individual responsibility of the customer to respect the rules of the social bubble;
    • only seats at tables are allowed;
    • each customer must remain at their own table;
    • 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), excluding tasks for which a distance of 1.5 meters can be respected;
    • no service is allowed at the bar, with the exception of sole traders, and subject to a distance of 1.5 meters;
    • 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;
    • bars and restaurants may remain open until 1.00 am, unless the municipal authorities require them to close earlier.
    • 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 days, to facilitate any subsequent contact tracing. These contact details may only be used for the purposes of tackling COVID-19, they must be destroyed after 14 days and customers must give their express consent. Customers who refuse to complete their details will be refused entry to the establishment.

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

    A guide has been drawn up for the catering (horeca) industry describing the protocol for the sector (Dutch only) (https://economie.fgov.be/nl/publicaties/gids-voor-een-veilige).

    However, night clubs and dance halls will remain closed until at least 31 August 2020.

  • Is my local market and other itinerant activitiets open?

    Markets (including antique or flea markets) and fairs may take place, subject to prior consent of the local authorities.

    The necessary measures must be taken at all markets and fairs 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 satisfy the following conditions:

    • The conditions determined by the local authorities
    • The social distancing rules are being respected.
    • The maximum number of visitors permitted at the market (excluding fairs) is one per 1.5 running metres at the stall.
    • The maximum number of visitors admitted to a fair is 200.
    • Everyone (market vendors, fairground vendors and customers) is 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);
    • 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. The market and fairground vendors will also make hand gels available.
    • Food and drink may be consumed on the spot at the stall or food truck, under the same conditions which apply for the catering industry. Takeaways continue to be permitted. For example, eating an ice-cream or a hamburger at the market/fair is perfectly allowed.
    • 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.
    • Shopping must be done alone, but an adult can accompany minors living under the same roof or a person in need of an escort;
    • Shopping must not take longer than necessary and usual.

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

  • What is a "fair"?
    A “fair” is considered to be a gathering of travelling fairground vendors; it includes attractions and rides as well as several stalls.
  • Can fairs or similar events be organised?
    Yes, they are allowed under the same conditions as for markets.
  • What about infection through packaging and food?
    The website of the FASFC contains information to clarify matters for consumers and operators in the food chain (Dutch or French only). http://www.favv-afsca.fgov.be/professionelen/publicaties/mededelingen/coronavirus.asp
  • What are the general principles for companies?

    It must be ensured that the continuity of the Belgian economy is not jeopardised. In this context, every link in the chain must be guaranteed, from raw materials to production and consumption, including imports and exports.

    The general principles are as follows:

    For companies that do not belong to the crucial sectors and essential services:

    • Teleworking is strongly encouraged in all companies for all staff whose position is suitable for it.

    • 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.
      • If work is performed in shifts and teams:
        • Limit the size of the teams;
        • Limit rotations in the composition of the teams.

    When transport is organised by a company, passengers are required to cover their mouth and nose with a mask or any other fabric alternative and, where possible, maintain a distance of 1.5m between each person. If it is not possible to wear a face mask for medical reasons, a face shield can be worn.

    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.

    For companies that do belong to the crucial sectors and essential services:

    • Teleworking is strongly encouraged in all companies for all staff whose position is suitable for it. As a result of the reduction in the number of infections and in order to allow social contact and personal interaction between workers, it is now possible for workers to work e.g. 1 to 2 days a week at their place of work, provided that the necessary measures are taken to avoid infections at work. This good practice can be built up gradually, and can then continue until the end of the summer.

    • In addition, these companies and services are obliged to apply, to the extent possible, the social distancing rules. Sectors and employers belonging to crucial sectors and essential services who have not interrupted their activities and who have already taken the necessary safety measures themselves can use the generic guide above as a source of inspiration.

    As regards subcontracting and ancillary services of crucial sectors and essential services, they are subject to the regulations applicable to the crucial sectors and essential services.

  • Apart from employees, who is allowed to be present on company premises?
    At publicly accessible places within companies which do not fall under the essential services and crucial sectors, the public may be granted access subject to social distancing measures or an equivalent level of protection applicable within the companies. At publicly accessible places which do fall under the essential services and crucial sectors, public access will be organised such that the social distancing rules are applied insofar as possible.
  • Are sales between private individuals allowed (e.g. second-hand sales, sales through auction sites)?
    Yes, this is permitted subject to social distancing measures.
  • Will the validity period of meal vouchers, eco vouchers and other vouchers/cheques be extended?
    Yes, various shops have been obliged by the Security Council to close for a while. The Government has therefore decided to extend the validity of meal vouchers and eco vouchers that expired during the months of March, April, May and June 2020 by six months. Sports and culture vouchers which expire on 30 September 2020 have also been extended. Exceptionally, these cheques can be used until 31 December 2020.
  • 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;
    • party and reception venues; The visitor or participant must give their express consent, 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 e-mail address and must be kept for 14 calendar days to facilitate any subsequent contact tracing. These contact details may only be used for the purposes of tackling COVID-19. After 14 calendar days the details must be destroyed.

Health

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  • What are the recommendations for wearing face masks and gloves in public places?

    Covering the mouth and nose is important to prevent the spread of the virus. This can be done with a so-called comfort mask, an alternative means of protection (such as a scarf or bandana) or, if this is not possible, a face shield. This is mandatory for anyone older than 12:

    • 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 markets, including bric-a-brac markets and flea markets, and fairs, for market vendors and fairground vendors and visitors; • 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. • for hotel and catering staff; • for kitchen staff in the catering sector; • for customers in catering establishments, except when they are sitting at their own table; • In shops and shopping centres; • In shopping streets and at any private or public place with significant footfall, which is identified as such 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; • In the areas of public buildings open to the public. • for funerals and cremations, civil marriages, congregational worship and the collective practice of non-denominational moral services and of activities within a philosophical association; • Events; • Demonstrations.

    Wearing a face mask is strongly recommended in other situations, such as:

    • in public spaces;
    • for customers at markets and fairs;
    • for primary and secondary school staff;
    • for secondary school pupils.

    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.:

    • Hygiene measures remain essential;
    • Outdoor activities should be prioritised wherever possible. Where necessary, rooms must be adequately ventilated;
    • Additional precautions must be taken for people belonging to a high-risk group; 4* Social distancing continues to apply, except for people within the same household, for children up to 12 years of age and for people with whom there is closer contact. People who cannot respect social distancing must wear a face mask;
    • Every household may meet up to 5 persons, always the same persons, in private meetings, including those taking place in places open to the public. Children under the age of 12 are not included in these 5 persons. It is the individual responsibility of people to respect the rules of the social bubble;
    • Gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people (excluding children under 12 years of age).

    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.

  • Are special measures taken in hospitals?

    Care for people remains a priority and must be guaranteed.

    In recent months, the pandemic has had a significant impact on healthcare provision, both in primary care and in hospitals. Caregivers and hospitals are making every effort to continue providing the best care to people infected with COVID-19 while safely organising access to general and specialised healthcare. The aim is to ensure that everyone has ‘standard’ access to healthcare and that the medical infrastructure needed to care for people suffering from the virus is not overloaded. It is advisable to inquire at the care facilities and follow their guidelines.

    Both the care providers active in ambulatory care and the care providers in the hospitals have resumed their activities for both urgent and non-urgent care. Recently, the visiting arrangements to hospitals have also been adapted (see below). Blood collections must continue, with respect for social distancing measures as much as possible. Persons who are ill must, as always, be excluded.

  • Are visitors allowed in hospitals?
    Hospitals must organise individual arrangements for visitors that ensure the safety of patients, staff and visitors. Therapeutic leave for children and adolescents under the age of 18 is authorised for all hospitals, with the hospital providing an arrangement that ensures the safety of other patients and staff. For psychiatric hospitals, the arrangements for visitors from 11 May 2020 remain in force. It is specified that the terms for family visits apply to all patients. Patients and visitors are advised to contact their hospital to find out what the exact terms of a visit are.
  • 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:

  • Are specific measures applicable to the transport of disabled persons or persons with reduced mobility?
    The most important thing is that no new social mixing occurs. Transport can therefore continue, but it must be ensured as much as possible that the same combination of drivers and persons with reduced mobility/disabled persons is maintained, subject to hygiene and social distancing measures. Voluntary transport of disabled persons and people in need can continue, and insofar as possible, 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.
  • 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/

  • Questions about contact tracing?
    On the Sciensano website you will find an extensive list of questions and answers (in Dutch) : https://covid-19.sciensano.be/sites/default/files/Covid19/COVID-19_FAQ%20contact%20tracing_NL.pdf
  • 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, etc.).
  • 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.

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:

  • What rules apply in higher education?

    Universities and colleges will primarily teach classes remotely. They can however resume their classes and activities in accordance with the guidelines from the Communities and the additional measures from the federal government.

    In addition, everyone over the age of 12 is obliged to wear a face mask or any other fabric alternative in auditoriums. If this is not possible for medical reasons, a face shield can be worn. In auditoriums, face masks may only be removed for the time strictly necessary for the consumption of food and drink. In areas of 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.

    Internships will be resumed in line with the pace at which the sectors concerned are restarting.

  • What rules apply in adult education?

    Adult education institutions (including informal adult education) may resume their classes and activities in accordance with the guidelines from the Communities and the additional measures provided by the federal government. The Communities may decide to resume part-time arts education for limited activities, but only where the infrastructure configuration permits this.

    In addition, everyone over the age of 12 is obliged to wear a face mask or any other fabric alternative in auditoriums. If this is not possible for medical reasons, a face shield can be worn. In auditoriums, face masks may only be removed for the time strictly necessary for the consumption of food and drink. In areas of 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.

  • Will crèches and child minders remain open?
  • How can child minders apply social distancing?
    The necessary hygienic measures have to be followed but social distancing is difficult with regard to children. Social distancing measures do however have to be strictly observed by parents.
  • What about children of (possibly) infected parents?
    Children of parents infected with Covid-19 cannot attend school or childcare for 14 days. Sciensano has developed a procedure relating to the COVID-19 measures for children in residential settings, which is available on the following website: https://covid-19.sciensano.be/sites/default/files/Covid19/COVID-19_procedure_children_NL.pdf
  • What about (resitting) exams in higher education?

    Exams can be organised. The websites of the educational institutions concerned can be consulted in this regard. “Silent places” for students without appropriate study facilities can be organised by appointment and subject to social distancing measures. If these places are in public libraries, as is the case in various faculties, supervisory control for students by supervisors and staff must be envisaged.

    In addition, everyone over the age of 12 is obliged to wear a face mask or any other fabric alternative in libraries. If this is not possible for medical reasons, a face shield can be worn. In areas of libraries 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 professional training be resumed?
    This training can be resumed if it complies with the social distancing rules applicable at the company.
  • May boarding schools, shelters and permanent shelters and special needs schools reopen?
    These institutions will remain open. Particular organisational stipulations may be provided for these institutions.
  • May training offered by PCSWs (e.g. group training on handling a limited budget) be resumed?
    This training can be resumed if it complies with the social distancing rules for the local government.
  • May training in the context of evening classes (e.g. cooking lessons and language classes) resume?
    Adult education institutions may resume their classes and activities in accordance with the guidelines from the Communities and the additional measures from the federal government.
  • Can academies for music, drama and dance, and art academies resume classes?
    Classes may resume in accordance with the guidelines from the Communities and the additional measures provided by the federal government.

Public services & leisure

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  • Which activities are allowed?

    People can move freely within the Belgian territory, but a sense of responsibility and the spirit of solidarity of every citizen is still called upon to adhere to all health recommendations. According to the decisions of 11 and 23 July 2020, in addition to the existing obligations, everyone aged 12 and over will also be required to wear a face mask or any other fabric alternative in shopping streets, shops and shopping centres, any private or public place with significant footfall, markets (including flea markets and bric-a-brac) and funfairs, cinemas, theatres, concert halls and conference rooms, auditoriums, places of worship & reflection, museums, libraries, casinos, amusement arcades and those areas of public buildings open to the public, at funerals and cremations, civil marriages, congregational worship and the collective practice of non-denominational moral services and of activities within a philosophical association, events and demonstrations.

    In these locations, 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 above) apply. If this is not possible for medical reasons, a face shield can be worn.

    In the case of public buildings, face masks are only mandatory in the areas open to the public. For all other establishments mentioned above, wearing a face mask in those areas that are not open to the public is not mandatory under the following two conditions: the areas are completely separate from the areas that are open to the public and this does not contravene any guide or protocol that may be in force. Wearing a face mask is still strongly recommended in other public places. Private and public activities of a cultural, social, sporting, tourist and recreational nature can be resumed. The conditions under which these may take place are further explained in this chapter. Night clubs and dance halls nevertheless remain closed. Jacuzzis, steam rooms and hammams are only to be used for private purposes. Nonetheless, gatherings of more than 10 persons (excluding children younger than 12) remain prohibited. Unless individuals are in a private setting with the social bubble, the general rules apply, supplemented by any additional local measures.

  • Social contacts
    Every household (persons living under the same roof) may meet up to 5 persons, always the same persons, in private meetings, including those taking place in places open to the public (e.g. catering establishments). Children under the age of 12 are not included in these 5 persons. This limit of 5 people must be observed in order to avoid the rapid spread of the virus. Every citizen must be able to draw up a list of all persons with whom they have had close contacts and, if necessary, transmit this information to the contact tracing centres. Group gatherings are limited to a maximum of ten people, excluding children younger than 12. This applies to all gatherings, regardless of whether they take place at home or outdoors (e.g. in a bar, in a cafe, in the park, etc.).
  • Are there any specific measures for public transport?
    Public transport remains operational. It is recommended to avoid the use of public transport if an alternative is available. 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 from the same bubble can travel in the same car, social distancing does not apply here. It is recommended to regularly ventilate and clean the vehicle. Wearing a mouth and nose covering is strongly advised.
  • 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 measure does not apply to a household or people from the same bubble. It is recommended to ventilate and clean the car regularly. Wearing a mouth and nose covering is strongly advised.
  • Can I sit in a van with my colleague?

    A transparent screen provides adequate protection and installing one can be permitted in means of transport, provided that certain road safety requirements are met.

    For the Flemish Region: https://www.vlaanderen.be/gezondheid-en-welzijn/gezondheid/gezondheid-en-preventie-tijdens-de-coronacrisis/coronamaatregelen-voor-technische-keuring/tijdelijke-demonteerbare-afscherming-in-voertuigen

  • Which sports are allowed?

    All 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:

    Sports activities in a non-organised context: These activities may only be carried out within one’s social bubble, i.e. with a maximum of 10 people (excluding children under the age of 12).

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

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

    Sports competitions Sports competitions can be held. There is no limit to the number of participants, unless the applicable protocol or the competent municipal authority explicitly provides for it. If a sporting competition is organised for more than 200 participants or on public roads, the prior authorisation of the competent municipal authority is required. 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.

    A maximum number of spectators is permitted:

    • 100 if the competition takes place indoors ;
    • 200 if the competition takes place outdoors ;

    The maximum number of spectators along the side of a sports event is limited in the arrival and departure zone:

    • 100 if the competition takes place indoors ;
    • 200 if the competition takes place outdoors

    Along the rest of the public road, spectators may stand together with a maximum of ten people (according to the rules of the social bubble), except when organised initiatives take place (e.g. VIP tents), which are covered by the events regulation.

    If a sporting competition is organised on public roads, the prior authorisation of the competent municipal authority is required.

    Competitions organised on a regular basis in permanent infrastructures such as stadiums, sports fields and sports halls may be organised in accordance with the protocol in force and are therefore not subject to prior authorisation.

    No sports events can take place between 1 am and 6 am.

  • Can I swim?
    Public indoor and outdoor swimming pools are open and must comply with the applicable protocols. Swimming pools are obliged to register the details of the visitors for the purpose of contact tracing.
  • Are guided visits permitted?
    Yes, these are allowed but only for a group of maximum 50 people and according to the appropriate social distancing measures.
  • Are amusement parks open?
    Yes, they are allowed to resume their activities according to the protocol in force.
  • 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:

    • in the presence of an adult supervisor;
    • with a group of up to fifty 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?

    Performances organised on a regular basis in permanent infrastructures such as theatres, cinemas and cultural centres can be organised according to the protocol in force.

    For one-off public performances on the public road, the prior authorisation of the competent municipal authority is required. 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.

    All these events are subject to a capacity limit:

    • 100 people indoors ;
    • 200 people indoors.

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

    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. If this is not possible for medical reasons, a face shield can be worn. Wearing a face mask is not mandatory for stage performers.

    In these locations, 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 above) apply.

    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 amateur recordings take place?

    These recordings may take place on condition that this is done:

    • in an organised context, namely in a company or association;
    • with a group of no more than fifty people, and respecting a distance of 1.5 metres between each person;
  • 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 with a maximum of 50 people taking into account the social distancing measures.
  • Can indoor play areas open?
    Yes, they are allowed to carry on their activities according to the protocol in force.
  • Are summer camps and activity clubs allowed?

    Yes, these activities may be organised subject to authorisation by the municipal authorities from 1 July 2020 for one or more groups of up to fifty people, including participants and supervisors. These groups must each form a separate social bubble during summer camp. All activities must be organised by social bubble and groups must not be put together, except in situations where a larger group is allowed. All forms of camps are allowed (sports, artistic, language and youth camps). There is no limit on the number of camps in which a child may participate. Summer camps may be organised up to a maximum of 150 kilometres from the Belgian borders, provided that the host country does not prohibit this and with the exception of the areas designated as red zones, specified on the website of the FPS Foreign Affairs. For transportation to and from the camp in a bus, one bubble must be maintained. The full capacity may be used on condition that the driver is protected. The bus must be sufficiently ventilated during the journey and fully disinfected after use. Children and adolescents do not need to wear a face mask. For double-decker buses, one bubble can be transported per deck, provided that the air flows between the two levels are separated. It must be ensured that bubbles are kept separate when passengers get on and off. If more than one bubble (per deck) is transported, the general rules on bus transport apply.

    Specifically for the youth sector there are protocols approved by the GEES. More information about the youth work rules for summer 2020 can be found at: https://ambrassade.be/nl/jeugdwerkzomer/jeugdwerkregels.

  • Can the regular activities of youth movements, STEM academies, youth centres and youth centres resume?
    Yes, these activities are allowed as long as they take place with a group of maximum 50 people, always in the presence of an adult supervisor, and with respect for a distance of 1.5 meters between each person older than 12 years. Youth houses and youth centres can reopen under the conditions described above for (youth) activities or, if necessary, also on the basis of the rules relating to the catering (horeca) industry.
  • How about events?

    Events are allowed under strict conditions. From the age of 12, every visitor to an event is obliged to cover their mouth and nose with a face mask or any alternative in fabric. When it is not possible to wear a face mask or any fabric alternative due to medical reasons, a face shield can be worn.

    All these events are subject to a capacity limit:

    • 100 people indoors ;
    • 200 people outdoors.

    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 on public roads and for which no protocol applies, the eight minimum rules must be adhered to. As a reminder, below are the eight minimum rules:

      • 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.

    Where food and drink are offered for consumption on the spot, the protocol and the catering rules shall apply. No events can take place between 1 am and 6 am.

    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:

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

    Not on public roads:

    events for up to 200 people

    • the CERM is recommended
    • the eight minimum rules apply

    Events exceeding 200 people:

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

    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 and GEES experts.

  • 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. Where food and drink are offered for consumption on the spot, the protocol and catering rules shall apply. 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. If this is not possible for medical reasons, a face shield can be worn.

    In these locations, 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 above) apply. 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. 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. Wearing a face mask is compulsory.

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

  • How about receptions and banquets?

    The rules in force differ depending on whether it is a private reception or banquet or a seated reception or banquet open to the public.

    A private seated reception or banquet means: there is no free access, it is by invitation only and is intended for family, friends or professional acquaintances. Examples are wedding receptions, baby showers or funeral receptions. A company party organised for the staff and their partners is considered to be a private banquet or reception. The same applies to a banquet or a reception organised by an association for its members.

    Other receptions and banquets (such as street parties, dinner parties and company parties to which outsiders are invited) are considered to be public.

    The following rules apply to private receptions and banquets: Private receptions and banquets can take place for people living under the same roof with a maximum of five persons, always the same persons, with a maximum of 10 persons in total. Children under the age of 12 are not included in these five persons (application of the rules of the social bubble).

    Receptions and banquets must be organised according to the protocol in force when they take place in a place open to the public.

    The following rules apply to public receptions and banquets:
    Banquets and receptions open to the public are considered to be events and should therefore follow the rules applicable to events. Banquets and receptions may not take place between 1 am and 6 am. The maximum number of attendees is 100 inside and 200 outside. The rules for the catering industry also apply:

    • the tables must be positioned in such a way that a distance of at least 1.5 meters between the tables 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 ten people per table is allowed;
    • only seats at tables are allowed;
    • each customer must remain at their own table;
    • 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 service is allowed at the bar, with the exception of sole traders, and subject to a distance of 1.5 meters;
    • 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.
    • 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, to facilitate any subsequent contact tracing. These contact details may only be used for the purposes of tackling COVID-19, they must be destroyed after 14 calendar days and customers must give their express consent. Customers who refuse to complete their details will be refused entry to the establishment. The professional caterer’s staff is not included in the number of guests.
  • May I organise a reception or banquet at my home?
    Yes, it is permitted to organise a reception or banquet at your home. The maximum number of guests allowed (including the host(s)) is 10 persons according to the rules of the social bubble.
  • How many people are allowed to attend my (wedding) reception or banquet?
    As this is a reception or banquet of a private nature, the rule of the social bubble applies, i.e. a maximum of 10, regardless of where it is organised.
  • Can a buffet be organised at a reception or banquet?
    This is allowed at a reception or banquet with a private character because the guests are not obliged to remain at the table. The maximum number of guests allowed (including the host(s)) is 10 people. However, the buffet must be organised by a professional caterer and the protocol applicable to the catering sector must be respected. This protocol provides, for example, that guests are served by staff and individual disposable dishes are used.
  • Is dancing permitted at a reception or banquet?
    No, dancing at a reception or banquet is not allowed. However, only people who are part of the social bubble can be invited to a private reception or banquet, contacts for which social distancing does not always have to be respected.
  • Can a caterer propose meals at a one-off event?
    Yes, this is allowed if the rules for the catering (horeca) industry are respected.
  • 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
    • Physical contact between persons and objects by different participants is prohibited;
    • the provision of means to ensure the necessary hand hygiene at the entrance and exit.
    • In addition, everyone over the age of 12 is obliged to wear a face mask or any other fabric alternative in places of worship & reflection. 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.
  • Under what conditions can civil marriages take place?
    Civil marriages can take place in the presence of up to 100 people, subject to social distancing measures. In addition, all persons over 12 years of age are required to cover their mouth and nose with a face mask or a safe fabric alternative in areas of public buildings accessible to the public. If it is not possible to wear a mask for medical reasons, a face shield can be used. Receptions or banquets held after the ceremony must follow the above mentioned rules for private receptions and banquets. They can therefore only be organised for a maximum of 10 persons according to the rule of the social bubble.
  • 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 100 people, 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 100 people and without the possibility of exposing the body. Funeral receptions must follow the above-mentioned rules for private receptions and banquets. They can therefore only be organised for a maximum of 10 persons according to the rule of the social bubble.
  • 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
      • with more than 200 participants:
      • or on public roads; 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.
  • What is considered a public building?
    Any building or part of a building accessible to the public, including public administrations, libraries, swimming pools, sports halls, etc.

Transport & International

  • driving license driver’s license tires tyre change garage public transport train tram bus metro premetro plane station airport harbor port harbour bike taxi carpool cruise sharing boat sailing boat moving transportation borders abroad
  • What are the general principles that apply to international travel?

    Any person with Belgian nationality, with or without their main residence in Belgium, long-term residents in Belgium and persons with legal residence in Belgium, as well as their legal family, may always return to Belgium.

    A person with double nationality or who is a national or resident of a third country can always leave Belgian territory to return to the country of which he/she is a national or resident. Nevertheless, certain countries do not allow their residents to return to their country. It is therefore advisable to contact the embassy of the destination.

    It is reiterated that travel is at your own risk. 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/nl/Diensten/Op_reis_in_het_buitenland/reisadviezen

    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.

    Each country, including those on the list published on the FPS Foreign Affairs website, is free to impose quarantine for people arriving on its territory or to request a certificate of a recent, negative COVID-19 test.

  • What measures apply when you travel from Belgium to countries within the European Union, the Schengen zone and the United Kingdom?

    It is possible to travel to the countries of the EU, the Schengen zone and the United Kingdom from Belgium, with the exception of the areas designated as red zones, subject to favourable epidemiological situations in Belgium and the countries concerned. Entry into these countries also depends on the consent of the country in question. Member States may also 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

    The FPS Foreign Affairs uses colour codes on its website to indicate whether travel to a particular country or zone is possible.

    • Red: these countries/zones are subject to a ban on non-essential travel due to the unfavourable epidemiological situation OR the country in question does not allow Belgians to enter the territory.

    • Orange: it is possible to travel to these countries/territories, however, it is strongly discouraged because of the unfavourable epidemiological situation OR because the country of destination imposes restrictions on tourists, such as a compulsory COVID-19 test or quarantine upon arrival.

    • Green: travel is possible without additional restrictions. However, it remains important to follow the travel advice. Hygiene and social distancing rules still apply.

    Please note: the above advice concerns only non-essential travel such as tourism. Essential travel may well be allowed.

    The FPS Foreign Affairs’ travel advice also contains a series of specific recommendations for each destination.

    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 in performing their duties;
      1. Frontier workers;
      1. Seasonal agricultural workers;
      1. Transport staff responsible for the transport of goods and other transport personnel, to the extent necessary in the performance of their duties;
      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 and humanitarian staff and civil protection staff when performing their duties;
      1. Passengers in transit;
      1. Passengers travelling for compelling family reasons;
      1. Mariners in the performance of their duties;
      1. People in need of international protection or for other humanitarian reasons; travel in accordance with the principle of ‘non-refoulement’;
      1. Third-country nationals travelling for study purposes;
      1. Highly qualified and low-skilled third-country workers, in the performance of their duties, if their work is economically necessary, cannot be postponed or can be carried out abroad.
      1. Journeys to Belgium in the context of professional activities, including commuting;
      1. Journeys by Belgian nationals or foreign nationals to their main residence;
      1. Journeys in connection with executing notarial deeds (if necessary and if this cannot be done digitally).

    Specific rules apply for summer camps abroad. For more information, please refer to the question “Can summer camps be organised abroad?”

  • What measures apply when you travel the European Union, the Schengen area and the United Kingdom to Belgium?

    It is possible to travel from the countries of the EU, the Schengen zone and the United Kingdom to Belgium, subject to favourable epidemiological situations in Belgium and the countries concerned.

    In the event of a resurgence in specific local zones within Europe, it is possible that additional measures will come into force when you return from these specific local zones.

    The Belgian approach for people returning from abroad depends on whether they are returning from a red, orange or green zone. These zones are published on the Foreign Affairs website: https://diplomatie.belgium.be.

    • Red zones are municipalities, districts, cities, regions or countries which have been put back into lockdown by the country in question or where people are at a very high risk of infection based on the epidemiological criteria identified by CELEVAL. People returning from these zones will be treated as “high-risk contacts”, which means that they will have to be tested and must stay in quarantine upon their return.

    For more information about possible quarantine, please refer to the question: “When should people travelling from abroad stay in quarantine?”.

    The persons travelling will also have to fill in a “Public Health Passenger Locator Form”. For more information about this, please refer to the question: ‘When should I fill in a “Public Health Passenger Locator Form”?’

    • Orange zones are municipalities, districts, cities, regions or countries for which a moderately high risk of infection has been identified by CELEVAL based on epidemiological criteria.

    Persons returning from these zones will be asked to undergo testing and stay in quarantine. This is, however, a strong recommendation and not an obligation.

    • Green zones are municipalities, districts, cities, regions or countries where no or low health risks has been identified by CELEVAL based on epidemiological criteria. People travelling are not subject to additional measures. However, it remains important to follow the travel advice. Hygiene and social distancing rules still apply.

    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 in performing their duties;
      1. Frontier workers;
      1. Seasonal agricultural workers;
      1. Transport staff responsible for the transport of goods and other transport personnel, to the extent necessary in the performance of their duties;
      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 and humanitarian staff and civil protection staff when performing their duties;
      1. Passengers in transit;
      1. Passengers travelling for compelling family reasons;
      1. Mariners in the performance of their duties;
      1. People in need of international protection or for other humanitarian reasons; travel in accordance with the principle of ‘non-refoulement’;
      1. Third-country nationals travelling for study purposes;
      1. Highly qualified and low-skilled third-country workers, in the performance of their duties, if their work is economically necessary, cannot be postponed or can be carried out abroad.
      1. Journeys to Belgium in the context of professional activities, including commuting;
      1. Journeys by Belgian nationals or foreign nationals to their main residence;
      1. Journeys in connection with executing notarial deeds (if necessary and if this cannot be done digitally).
  • What measures apply when travelling from and to countries outside the European Union, the Schengen zone and the United Kingdom?

    The ban on non-essential trips outside the European Union, the Schengen area and the United Kingdom will remain in force until further notice. Currently, these countries are considered to be red zones.

    When the ban on non-essential travel is gradually lifted, it will be possible to travel from Belgium to countries included in the list published on the website of the Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs (https://diplomatie.belgium.be/nl) and to travel to Belgium from these countries. The list is reviewed every two weeks by the EU and the Belgian position will be published thereafter.

    Nevertheless, the following people may travel from ‘third countries’ to the EU Member States and the Schengen associated countries, irrespective of the purpose of their journey:

    • Citizens of the Union and third-country nationals who, by agreement between the Union and its Member States, on the one hand, and these third countries, on the other, enjoy rights of free movement equivalent to those of citizens of the Union and their respective family members;
    • Third-country nationals who are long-term residents under the Long-Term Residence Directive and people who derive their right of residence from other EU Directives or from national law or who hold a national long-stay visa, as well as their respective family members.

    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 in performing their duties;
      1. Frontier workers;
      1. Seasonal agricultural workers;
      1. Transport staff responsible for the transport of goods and other transport personnel, to the extent necessary in the performance of their duties;
      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 and humanitarian staff and civil protection staff when performing their duties;
      1. Passengers in transit;
      1. Passengers travelling for compelling family reasons;
      1. Mariners in the performance of their duties;
      1. People in need of international protection or for other humanitarian reasons; travel in accordance with the principle of ‘non-refoulement’;
      1. Third-country nationals travelling for study purposes;
      1. Highly qualified and low-skilled third-country workers, in the performance of their duties, if their work is economically necessary, cannot be postponed or can be carried out abroad.

    For more information, please consult the following European Commission website: https://ec.europa.eu/info/live-work-travel-eu/health/coronavirus-response/travel-and-transportation-during-coronavirus-pandemic/travel-and-eu-during-pandemic_nl It is always necessary to be able to prove journeys for essential work or compelling reasons by a plausible proof, such as an extract from the civil status register or a birth certificate to prove a family relationship, an employment contract, a medical certificate issued by an official health authority or care provider, a certificate of death or legally binding documents.

    PLEASE NOTE: These specific conditions are in addition to the normal conditions of access to a country outside the EU. 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.

    In addition, entry into the country of destination depends on the consent of that country. Member States may also adopt appropriate 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

    People returning from red zones will be treated as “high-risk contacts”, which means that they will have to be tested and must stay in quarantine upon their return. For more information about possible quarantine, please refer to the question: “When should people travelling from abroad stay in quarantine?”.

    All people travelling to Belgium from outside the EU, Schengen zone and United Kingdom must complete a “Public Health Passenger Locator Form”. For more information about this, please refer to the question: ‘When should I fill in a “Public Health Passenger Locator Form”?’

  • When should I fill in a "Public Health Passenger Locator Form”?

    The “Public Health Passenger Locator Form” must be completed by all people travelling to Belgium after a stay:

    PLEASE NOTE: you must also complete the form if the situation of the region where you have been changes to red or orange within 14 days after your arrival in Belgium.

    The form can be found on the websites of the Immigration Office of the FPS Home Affairs, and the FPS Foreign Affairs. From 1 August, the form will be compulsory for all persons travelling to or from Belgium for a period of more than 48 hours. It will therefore be possible to complete the form electronically.

    This form allows you to contact the person travelling if an infection is detected and to start contact tracing if necessary.

    It is mandatory to complete the Public Health Passenger Locator Form completely and truthfully. Failure to complete this form may, in the first instance, result in criminal prosecution and refusal of entry into the territory.

    If you are travelling to Belgium by plane: The form must be completed before boarding and presented to the carrier. If you do not have this form, the carrier is obliged to refuse boarding. On arrival from a country within the Schengen area, the form must be handed over to the carrier. On arrival from a country outside the Schengen area, the form must be handed over to the person in charge of border control together with the required travel documents (passport, visa, etc.).

    If you are using other means of transport (bus, train, car) to travel to Belgium:
    You must send the form on the day of arrival in Belgium to PLFBelgium@health.fgov.be

    Instructions:

    • Please fill out the form completely and LEGIBLY;
    • 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 adultif this is the case. If children under the age of 16 are travelling alone, they must also fill in a form. If the information entered on the form changes within 14 days of arrival, you must report this by sending the complete and updated details 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.

    • The period of 14 days starts as soon as the person travelling arrives in Belgium.
    • 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 possible.
    • 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.
    • It is mandatory to be reachable and cooperate with the health authorities throughout the self-isolation period.

    Going outside is only allowed for the following essential trips and provided that you wear a (fabric) face mask:

    • 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;
    • For key workers or people who have a recognised compelling reason whose essential activities cannot be postponed until after the period of quarantine has ended, e.g. the funeral of a family member.
  • When should travellers from abroad self-isolate?

    Quarantine is a competence of the federated entities. More information can be found on the website of the federated entities.

    A. When travelling from Belgium abroad Each country is entitled to impose quarantine measures to people entering its territory. It is, therefore, highly recommended to consult the travel advice of the FPS Foreign Affairs: https://diplomatie.belgium.be/en/services/travelling_abroad/travel_advice_by_country

    B. When travelling to Belgium from abroad In Belgium, staying in quarantine and taking a COVID-19 test is required for travellers who return from red zones. This is highly recommended for people returning from orange zones. These zones are published on the website of the FPS Foreign Affairs.

    Quarantine is also mandatory for essential trips from red zones. This may only be deviated from if staying in quarantine would prevent the ‘essential aspect’ of the trip from going ahead. Quarantine can therefore only be lifted in order to fulfil the essential purpose of the trip and only to the extent that 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 all activities not related to the reason for essential travel, the individual must remain in isolation from others.

    C. Exceptions to the quarantine measures Persons arriving in Belgium from a red zone and who have essential work or a compelling reason in the categories listed below do not have to stay in quarantine:

    1.    Border residents; 
      
    2.    Transport staff responsible for the transport of goods and other transport personnel, to the extent necessary in the performance of their duties; 
      
    3.    Diplomats, staff of international organisations and people invited by international organisations whose physical presence is required for the proper functioning of those organisations, military and humanitarian staff and civil protection staff when performing their duties;
      
    4.    Passengers in transit;
      
    5.    Mariners in the performance of their duties;
      
    6.    Highly qualified and low-skilled third-country workers, in the performance of their duties, if their work is economically necessary, cannot be postponed or can be carried out abroad.
      
  • Are specific measures taken for Belgian airports?
    The social distancing measures and the specific measures in force at the airport must be respected. Anyone aged 12 and over is obliged to cover their mouth and nose with a mask or any other fabric alternative, as soon as they enter the airport. If it is not possible to wear a face mask for medical reasons, a face shield can be worn.
    For further information on the measures in force, passengers should consult the websites of the respective airports.
  • What happens if the travel advice and prohibitory rules are 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 or the travel ban 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.
  • Can summer camps be organised abroad?
    From 1 July 2020, it is permitted to organise summer camps up to a maximum of 150 kilometres from the Belgian borders, excluding in red zones, provided that the country where the camp takes place allows this. In these countries, the respective national regulations and any additional measures must be respected. It is strongly advised to consult these regulations on the respective websites of the relevant foreign authorities. The general rules for the organisation and transport relating to intra-Belgium summer camps also apply to these camps.

Didn’t find an answer to your question?

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