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Coronavirus : Phase 2 maintained, transition to the federal phase and additional measures

As announced on March 10, the evolution of the spread of the coronavirus is assessed on a daily basis After all, yesterday’s health situation is not the same as today’s or tomorrow’s. Following the latest developments, the National Security Council (NSC) met on Thursday 12 March at the request of the Prime Minister and in consultation with the Minister-Presidents. This NSC meeting was held in the wake of the meetings of expert groups such as the Risk Assessment Group and Risk Management Group.

It was decided to strengthen the existing measures with additional social distancing measures, with the same objective of stemming the spread of the epidemic. These measures are proportional and geared towards maximum efficiency. **From an operational point of view, we are moving into the federal phase of crisis management, which means that all decisions will be taken by a management cell composed of, among others, the Prime Minister, the competent ministers and the Ministers-Presidents. **This phase ensures better coordination and information on the measures taken by the different entities. The measures announced are applicable throughout the national territory.

All levels of government share the same commitment to coherent action, communication **and implementation **of the agreed measures. We want **the same decision to be applied everywhere in the same way. **The overriding objective is the preservation of public health.

These measures will apply** from Friday midnight until 3 April inclusive. **As before, evolutions will continue to be assessed on a day-to-day basis.

  • Regarding schools :
  • As far as schools as concerned, lessons are suspended. Childcare will be organized at least for the children of medical and health care personnel and departments of authority (public safety). For children who cannot be cared for by others than the elderly people, parents will also be able to find a solution in schools.
  • The crèches stay open.
  • In the case of colleges and universities, it is recommended** to develop e-learning course modules**. Those schools are therefore not closed, but invited to set up alternatives to traditional courses in amphitheaters or in confined spaces.
  • Regarding shops and so-called recreational activities (sport, culture, folklore, etc.):
  • All the activities are cancelled, regardless of their size and whether they are public or private;
  • Among others, discotheque, café and restaurants stay closed;
  • Hotels remain open, except for their possible restaurant;
  • Home delivery and drive-in are allowed;
  • **The shops remain open all week, but not on weekends; **
  • Grocery stores and pharmacies remain open, even on weekends. Nevertheless, it is recommended that they reinforce hygiene measures on the basis of the recommendations already made.
  • Regarding work :
  • Work should continue as far as possible**, but working from home should be encouraged and, if necessary, reinforced.**
  • Regarding public transport:
  • Public transport runs normally but it is requested to limit yourself to **essential journeys. **The staggered timetables will avoid congestion on public transport. It should be noted that these measures complement those formulated previously. We remain in a reinforced phase 2.

We are well aware that these decisions will have an** impact** **on the** **economy**, and particularly on some sectors.

In this context, on 6 March**, the Council of Ministers adopted the following measures to support businesses**:

  1. Temporary layoffs due to force majeure
  2. Temporary layoffs for economic reasons
  3. Payment plan for employer’s social security contributions
  4. Payment plan VAT
  5. Payment plan for withholding tax
  6. Payment plan for personal/corporate tax
  7. Reduction of prepayment for self-employed
  8. Delay or exemption of the payment for employer’s social security contributions for self-employed
  9. Obtaining a replacement income for self-employed (bridging right)
  10. Flexibility in the execution of federal public contracts Those measures will constantly be re-evaluated to reinforce them where necessary.

Finally, we would like to remind you that** basic hygiene measures are still valid**, namely washing your hands with soap, coughing and sneezing into your elbow and avoiding any close contact. If you have the slightest doubt, you are invited to consult your family doctor. Everyone must contribute to limiting the spread of the virus.

information on the application of the different measures will be given in the coming hours.

You can find these on the reference website : https://www.info-coronavirus.be/en/.

All citizens with questions can call the following telephone numbers: :

  • For matters regarding Health or Public Order: 0800/14.689
  • For economic matters: 0800/120.33