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COVID-19 alert level 4: Consultative Committee tightens coronavirus rules for sports, culture and higher education

PRESS RELEASE OF PRIME MINISTER ALEXANDER DE coronavirus

The Consultative Committee has raised the coronavirus rules for sports, cultural events and (higher) education to alert level 4.

The stricter rules are necessary to relieve the burden on hospitals, to prevent all schools from closing, the entire economy from stagnating and too many people becoming lonely due to a general lockdown.

The following coronavirus measures have been made stricter:

  1. Sports events: all professional indoor and outdoor sports events will take place without an audience. All amateur matches have been suspended. Youth competitions for children up to the age of 18 are still allowed, however, only one family member can attend. Offering and consuming drinks and food remains prohibited.

  2. Higher education: the occupancy rate is reduced to a maximum of 20% with compulsory face masks, except for practical lessons where this is not possible. The rule does not apply to first-year students.

  3. Indoor cultural events: a maximum of 40 people. However, provided the event is organised in a coronavirus-proof manner, a distance of 1.5 meters can be respected and face masks are worn, a maximum of 200 people are allowed. Offering drinks and food is prohibited.

  4. Public transport: all authorities ensure, within their competence, that the capacity of public transport during peak hours is limited to prevent overcrowding.

  5. Amusement parks will be temporarily closed.

  6. Zoos: indoor areas will be closed; offering and consuming drinks and food is prohibited.

  7. Teleworking remains the rule. Consultations are being held with employers' federations to set up a responsible monitoring system so that the rule of teleworking is applied wherever it is needed.

Given the particular urgency of the situation, the rules will enter into force immediately from the moment of publication on Friday 23 October 2020. The rules shall be applicable until 19 November 2020, with a mid-term review after two weeks.

The Consultative Committee would like to remind everyone about the general rules for alert level 4 which have been in force since Monday 19 October:

  1. ‘Cuddle contacts’ (close contacts) are limited to a maximum of 1 person.

  2. Private gatherings are limited to the same 4 people every two-week window.

  3. Gatherings in public areas are limited to a maximum of 4 people.

  4. Markets and small fairs will remain open. However, the consumption of food and drink is forbidden. Flea markets, bric-a-brac markets and small Christmas markets are forbidden.

  5. Cafés and restaurants are 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).

  6. Night shops must close at 10pm. There is a ban on alcohol sales from 8pm onwards.

  7. 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.