News item

Consultative Committee decides on an outdoor plan: as of March 8 you can meet up with more people outdoors

The Federal Government and the Governments of the Federated Entities discussed the corona situation today in the Consultative Committee. The Consultative Committee considers that caution is still necessary and, as a first step, would like to give priority to education, young people and outdoor activities.

Outdoor activities have a significantly lower virological risk. Getting people to exercise outdoors in slightly larger groups also encourages a connection between people - a basic need that has been severely strained by the pandemic. This connection is particularly important for young people.

More people outside

  • From 8 March, 10 people can meet outside. It is still important to maintain a distance of 1.5 meters.

Funerals

  • From 8 March, indoor funerals or burials can have up to 50 people and a maximum of 1 person per 10 square meters.

Priority given to young people and education

  • From 8 March, the following is allowed for organized outdoor activities (sports and other):
    • for children (-13 years), a max. of 10 inside or 25 outside
    • for young people (-19 years), a max. of 10 outdoors

Audiences at sports training sessions will be limited to one person per child.

  • As of 15 March, out-of-school school activities of up to 1 day in primary and secondary schools will be allowed again.
  • As of 15 March, full-time in-person education is allowed for vulnerable groups in special education and part-time vocational education.
  • As of 15 March, a maximum of 20% in-person education is allowed in higher education.

Starting 8 March, the Ministerial Decree will also allow in-door photoshoots (maximum 1 consumer per 10 square meters, only people living under the same roof). The opening of private saunas is also envisaged, for use by persons living under the same roof. Jacuzzis, steam rooms and hammams will then not be accessible, however.

Outdoor Plan

To the extent possible considering the epidemiological situation and depending on the pressure on hospitals and the vaccination campaign's progress, there will be an outdoor plan starting in April where the following activities would be allowed:

  • Organized outdoor activities for everyone (by sports and other associations, including sports training): max. 10 people. Audiences at sports training sessions will be limited to one person per -19  year old.
  • Culture, events and religious services: max. 50 people, requirement for social distancing and face masks
  • Amusement Parks
  • Primary and secondary schools: after the Easter holidays, in-classroom education every day

The Consultative Committee also decided that overnight activities for children and young people up to 18 years of age will be allowed during the Easter vacations for groups of no more than 25 people, not including supervisors. All participants must be tested before the start and at the end of the camp.

More generalised use of rapid tests

To the extent possible, considering the epidemiological situation and depending on the pressure on hospitals and the vaccination campaign's progress, and provided rapid tests are used, as of 1 May even more outdoor and indoor activities could be allowed: these include social contacts, indoor and outdoor hospitality, shopping and ambulatory trade, culture and events, youth work, associations and sports, religious services, home care and funfairs.

Rapid testing can play an important role in this. To this end, a flexible legal framework should be developed to make antigen tests generally available in the near future.

The Group of Experts on the COVID-19 Management Strategy (GEMS) has been asked to develop a more detailed action plan to ensure future steps are safe. This should include a focus on ventilation and the role of CO2 meters for restarting indoor activities.

Rules on non-essential travel

The Consultative Committee has decided to keep the ban on travel for recreational/tourism purposes from and to Belgium in place until 18 April 2021, but this measure will be re-evaluated at the next Consultative Committee. This travel ban is a responsible and necessary measure to stop the virus from circulating.

The Consultative Committee will take stock of the corona situation in our country again on 26 March.