COVID-19 alert level 4 comes into force: stricter rules as of Monday 19 October
Today, the Consultative Committee was made aware of the increasingly alarming epidemiological situation which has caused the entire country to move into alert level 4 (very high alert) as from today, based on the COVID-19 barometer.
The pressure on hospitals and on the continuity of non-COVID-19 care is increasing. Some hospitals are confronted with a reduced number of employees. There is also increased pressure on primary care, in particular on general practitioners.
The Consultative Committee has decided on a series of measures to help hospitals cope and to prevent schools from closing, the economy from stagnating and too many people becoming lonely due to a general lockdown:
- ‘Cuddle contacts’ (close contacts) are limited to a maximum of 1 person**.**
- Private gatherings are limited to the same 4 people every two-week window.
- Gatherings in public areas are limited to a maximum of 4 people.
- Teleworking will become mandatory for all occupations where this is possible without disrupting the continuity of business operations, activities and services.
- Markets and small fairs will remain open. However, the consumption of food and drink will be forbidden. Flea markets, bric-a-brac markets and small Christmas markets are forbidden.
- Cafés and restaurants will be closed. This applies for a period of four weeks and will be evaluated after two weeks. Picking up takeaways remains possible until 10pm. Receptions and banquets catered for by a professional caterer/catering company are forbidden, except in hotels for guests staying overnight and funeral receptions (a maximum of 40 people).
- Night shops must close at 10pm. There is a ban on alcohol sales from 8pm onwards.
- It is prohibited to enter public areas between midnight and 5am, except for essential journeys which cannot be delayed, such as urgent medical care, professional travel and commuting.
- In terms of indoor activities, the existing protocols will continue to apply until they will be evaluated on 23 October. There will be a ban on the sale of food and drinks.
- Sports competitions: compartments are halved from 400 to 200 spectators (professional) or only with members of the same household (amateurs). Canteens and drinking establishments must remain closed.
The Federal Government and the federated entities will do everything in their power to give maximum support to everyone who is economically affected. For instance, the Federal Government will double the bridging right for self-employed people who have to close down. Existing support measures will be prolonged. There will also be an exemption from the NSSO.
These measures will enter into force on 19 October and will be valid for one month, after which an evaluation will follow.