The federal and state governments have today in the Consultative Committee set the rules for free and safe travel this summer. On Wednesday, June 9, the first step of the Summer Plan also takes effect, including the opening of indoor catering and return days for teleworkers.
The Consultation Committee notes that the number of corona patients in intensive care continues to decline and is well below the guideline threshold of 500 beds. The vaccination campaign is also up to speed, with more than eight out of ten vulnerable people (those aged 65 and over and those with underlying conditions) having received their first vaccine dose within two weeks.
Message from the Prime Minister, Alexander De Croo
The Consultative Committee confirms the objective to maximise vaccination coverage of the general population. In the meantime, caution remains the order of the day. For example, it takes up to three weeks after the dose has been administered before the vaccine provides adequate protection. During that time, one can become infected, seriously ill and infect other people. Respecting the rules of conduct, such as wearing a mouth mask and respecting the 1.5 meter rule, is therefore still recommended.
Free and safe travel
The Concertation Committee also laid down the rules for travelling freely and safely within the European Union this summer. This will be possible on the basis of the European digital corona certificate.
The certificate will be used in all EU countries from 1 July and is proof that someone has been vaccinated against corona, tested negative for corona or has recovered from corona.
Travel to countries outside the European Union, meanwhile, remains strongly advised against.
- Returning as a resident after residing abroad
- Return from green or orange zone:
- No obligation to quarantine or test. Please note: the status of a zone can change at any time during your stay.
- Returning from red zone:
- Those with a digital corona certificate with full vaccination (+ 2 weeks), recent negative PCR test (< 72 hours) or recovery certificate do not need to be quarantined.
- Those who get tested immediately upon arrival (day 1 or day 2) do not have to go into quarantine. A negative PCR test is requested for persons 12 years of age and older. Children under the age of 12 are exempt from testing requirements.
- Return from very high risk area (“variants of concern”):
- Mandatory 10-day quarantine with PCR testing on day 1 and day 7.
- This obligation also applies to persons who have been fully vaccinated or who have already tested negative in the country. After all, these are dangerous virus variants that we want to keep out of Europe.
- Arrival in Belgium as non-resident
- Arrival from green or orange zone:
- No obligation to test or quarantine.
- Arriving from red zone:
- Those with a digital corona certificate with full vaccination (+ 2 weeks), a recent negative PCR test or recovery certificate do not need to be quarantined.
- The recent test must not be older than 72 hours before arrival in Belgium.
- Arrival from outside the European Union:
- Those coming from outside the European Union must be fully vaccinated (+ 2 weeks) with a vaccine recognised by Europe and pass a PCR test on the day of arrival. If the test is negative, this person does not need to be quarantined.
- Arrival after staying in a very high risk area (“variants of concern”):
- There is a ban on entry for non-Belgians who do not reside in Belgium and who have been in a very high-risk area at any time during the past 14 days. There is an exception for essential travel by transport staff and diplomats. They must undergo 10 days mandatory quarantine with PCR testing on day 1 and day 7. The quarantine may only be interrupted for the execution of the essential reason
- Departure abroad
Anyone in possession of a valid digital corona certificate can travel freely within the Member States of the European Union. That’s the basic principle. However, destination countries may always impose additional conditions.
You should therefore check the exact travel conditions of the country of destination or of the countries in transit sufficiently in advance. It prevents unpleasant surprises.
Passenger Location Form is retained
The use of the Passenger Location Form does not change.
The distinction between professional and non-professional travel is abolished. As of July 1, a PLF must also be completed for professional travel instead of the Business Travel Abroad tool (BTA).
Two free PCR tests
For children and adolescents between 6 and 17 years of age and for adults who have not yet had the opportunity to be fully vaccinated and thus to acquire immunity, the cost of a PCR test will be reimbursed up to a maximum of € 55. It concerns tests taken in Belgium, subject to obtaining a Corona Test Prescription Code from the FPS Public Health.
The financial allowance can be used maximum 2 times, during the months July, August and September.
Opening hours catering industry
The opening hour in the catering industry will be brought forward from 8am to 5am from 9 June.
The Consultation Committee also decided that from 9 June onwards, the closing time for both inside and outside would be raised to 23:30.
The Consultative Committee lays down the approval procedure for some 30 test events during the period from 1 July to 31 August. The aim is to acquire additional knowledge on how to organize an event safely, taking into account available scientific data.
Among other things, there will be test events on the use of the COVID Safe Ticket, air quality and crowd management.
The Consultation Committee clarifies conditions for larger scale events starting August 13. A full vaccination (+ 2 weeks) or a recent PCR test (< 72 hours) is required for participants in these events. There is also the possibility of providing rapid on-site antigen testing.
There is a ceiling of 75,000 visitors.
Next Consultation Committee
The next Consultation Committee is scheduled for June 11 and will include further details on the Summer Plan starting July 1.
Finally… 10 tips for enjoying the summer safely
- Get vaccinated. The more people vaccinated, the safer for all of us.
- Wash your hands regularly. And also follow the other hygiene rules such as when coughing or sneezing.
- Illness or symptoms? Stay home and contact your doctor.
- Test yourself if you have not yet been vaccinated. You can find a self-test at the pharmacist.
- Go outside. Because it’s safer outside.
- Smaller is better. A group of five is safer than a group of fifty.
- Everyone in the party vaccinated? You can take off the masks.
- Ventilate indoor areas. That’s how you avoid a virus cloud inside.
- Keep a safe distance for now. At five feet, it will remain safer until everyone is vaccinated.
- Keep it safe while traveling, too. Download the digital corona certificate, use your corona app, and find out about local rules.