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Code orange from 18 February: normal opening hours for hospitality sector, nightclubs open

On the morning of 18 February, the coronavirus barometer will switch to code orange. This has been decided by the Consultative Committee. Among other things, the hospitality sector can resume its normal opening hours and nightclubs can reopen. All indoor and outdoor public events are also allowed. Teleworking will no longer be mandatory but will still be recommended.

The Consultative Committee has noted that the Omicron wave has peaked and the number of new infections has declined over the past two weeks. Meanwhile, the reproduction number for infections and hospital admissions is below 1, confirming the decline in virus circulation. The number of new hospital admissions is also starting to decline, as are the number of coronavirus admissions to intensive care units.

Based on these developments, the Consultative Committee has decided to switch to code orange as of Friday 18 February. In concrete terms, this means:

Hospitality sector

  • There will no longer be a specific closing time, nor will there be a restriction on the number of people per table. In addition, it will no longer be mandatory to be seated when eating and/or drinking.
  • Face masks will only be mandatory for staff.
  • Night clubs can reopen at a capacity of 70%.

Events

  • All indoor and outdoor public events will be allowed at all times.
  • Wearing a face mask will be mandatory for:
    • non-dynamic indoor activities
    • dynamic indoor and outdoor activities, only for staff
  • The CST will be mandatory for all indoor activities with more than 50 participants and for all outdoor activities with more than 100 participants.
  • A capacity of 200 people is always allowed, but may be increased up to:
    • 70% for dynamic indoor activities
    • 80% for non-dynamic indoor activities and all outdoor activities
    • 100% if the air quality at indoor activities is below an average measured target value of 900 ppm CO2
    • 100% for outdoor activities if working with compartments of up to 2,000 people or if additional crowd-control measures are taken after favourable advice from the Local Security Unit.
  • Weddings and funerals will remain allowed.

Organised leisure activities

For organised outdoor leisure activities, there will no longer be a maximum capacity. For organised indoor leisure activities, there will be a maximum capacity of 200 people. This maximum number will not apply to sports activities, with the exception of sports camps.

Ventilation

The Consultative Committee has emphasised the importance of proper ventilation of indoor spaces. When the limit value of 1500 ppm CO2 or a flow rate of 18 m3/h ventilation and/or fresh air supply per person has been reached, the capacity must be reduced or other measures must be taken.

Teleworking

Teleworking will no longer be mandatory. However, it will remain recommended where possible.

Shopping

There will no longer be any restrictions on shopping, nor will there be a closing time for night shops.

Face mask requirement

From 19 February, wearing a face mask will only be mandatory from the age of 12.

Travel rules

People travelling to Belgium will no longer need to take account of the colour code of the country they are travelling from. People who do not have their main residence in Belgium and who travel to Belgium from EU/Schengen countries or third countries must now have a valid vaccination, test or recovery certificate. However, the rules for very high-risk zones and essential and non-essential travel will continue to apply, as will the 48-hour rule and the exceptions for categories such as carriers and frontier workers.

In line with the Council Recommendation (EU) 2022/107 and the evolution of the global distribution of Omicron, the Consultative Committee has decided to adjust the certificates as follows:

  • the vaccination certificate is valid for 270 days after the final dose of your primary vaccination and indefinitely with a booster vaccination.
  • the test certificate will be valid for 24 hours for a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT). Please note: only RATs approved at European level are eligible. PCR tests are valid for 72 hours.
  • The Consultative Committee has asked health ministers to simplify testing and quarantine rules when travelling.