Consultative Committee lowers age requirement for face masks, restricts indoor activities and decides on education package
Today, The Consultative Committee discussed the epidemiological situation in our country. To reduce the pressure on our healthcare system, it was decided to limit indoor activities, to bring forward the Christmas holidays for nursery and primary schools to 20 December and to switch to hybrid teaching in secondary schools. People are also asked to limit indoors social contacts as much as possible.
The Consultative Committee notes that the number of infections has continued to rise. The number of new hospital admissions and the burden on hospitals has also increased further. Four out of ten intensive care beds are occupied by corona patients today at a time when 220 beds are closed due to absent healthcare staff. The reproduction rate is still above 1, so the epidemic is growing, as is the burden on healthcare.
In order to reduce the high number of infections and to reduce the pressure on our healthcare system to a manageable level as soon as possible, the Consultative Committee has taken the following decisions:
- Mandatory face masks from six years of age
Wherever wearing a face mask is compulsory, this applies from the age of six.
- Limiting social contacts
It is strongly recommended to minimise social contacts and preferably meet people outdoors. The use of self-tests is recommended.
- Children and education
The Christmas holidays for nursery and primary schools are brought forward by one week and will start on 20 December.
Secondary education is organised in a hybrid format until the examination period. For pupils who do not have access to digital resources, remote learning can be organised in the school.
Furthermore, from 6 December onwards, a package of measures will be implemented to make schools safer:
- Mandatory CO2 meters in every classroom and in rooms where many people come together.
- New protocol that requires classes to stay home as of two infected cases.
- General face mask requirement as of six years of age.
- Ban on all extracurricular activities.
- Recommendation for parents to (self-)test their children regularly.
Part-time art education will follow the same rules as primary and secondary education.
In-person teaching is provided for the most vulnerable pupils especially those receiving special needs education. The Ministers of Education will determine further practicalities.
The Vaccination Task Force will make rapid progress on vaccination of children under 12 years of age, given the importance of vaccination to tackle the epidemiological challenges in education.
- Private indoor gatherings
All indoor activities and gatherings are provisionally banned, including organised activities, but with the exception of:
- private meetings at home or in a small tourist accommodation,
- weddings and funerals.
- Outdoor public events
Events with more than 4,000 visitors cannot take place from Saturday 4 December onwards
From Monday, 6 December, only events, cultural and other performances and conferences are allowed indoors, under the following conditions:
- a maximum of 200 visitors,
- with a face mask,
- the Covid Safe Ticket must be used from 50 visitors.
Cinemas can receive audiences with a maximum of 200 people per room and provided a 1.5 metre distance is provided.
- Outdoor public events
The Consultative Committee reminds organisers that they are responsible for putting in place crowd control measures.
The Committee asks local governments to strictly enforce these measures. If these measures cannot be respected, these events must be cancelled.
- Working from home
The obligation to work from home is confirmed, with a maximum of one day of working on-site per week. Team-building activities and parties in the workplace are prohibited.
Opening hours in the hospitality industry are restricted from 5 am to 11 pm.
- Indoor sports events
Indoor sports competitions must be organised without spectators. Participants under the age of 18 may be accompanied by two adult persons.
These measures will enter into force on Saturday 4 December 2021.
The Consultative Committee will reassess the epidemiological situation in the week of 20 December.
The Consultative Committee points out that mayors have the local responsibility at all times to cancel events that pose an epidemiological risk, after consulting the competent health authorities.