Today, the Consultative Committee discussed in detail the epidemiological situation in our country. The achievement of the Summer Plan objectives will allow, as planned, the removal of a series of restrictions from 1 September. In addition, extra efforts should be made to reach a minimum threshold of 70% complete vaccinations in all municipalities of our country, as a stepping stone towards a complete vaccination of the population.
The Consultative Committee notes a trend of slow but sustained increase in the number of infections. However, COVID-19 confirms that the situation is and remains manageable, particularly in hospitals. This is the result of the successful vaccination campaign. More than 90% of the over-65s and vulnerable people in our country are fully vaccinated; almost 70% of the total population is vaccinated. Belgium is therefore one of the best-performing vaccination countries in the European Union and the world.
New step in the Summer Plan
As the target of 70% vaccination coverage of adults has been reached, the Consultative Committee decides to proceed with the next step of the Summer Plan from 1 September.
Meetings in private space
No more restrictions on meetings in the home or in tourist accommodation.
The Consultative Committee invites companies to structurally embed teleworking.
Professional catering activities
No more restrictions on opening and closing hours (including service at home), number of people per table, distance between table groups, terraces, noise level and service at the bar. The obligation to provide seating only is also dropped.
When moving within a catering establishment, the mouth mask requirement remains in place.
Discotheques and dance halls will be able to open from 1 October on the basis of stricter protocols on air quality, ventilation and maximum capacity in relation to the surface area. From 1 October, dancing in pubs will again be allowed. The Länder can always decide to apply these arrangements more strictly.
Activities in an organised context
No more restrictions for activities in an organised context, in particular organised by a club or association.
No more restrictions on buffets and dancing during private parties, especially weddings.
No more restrictions on civil marriages, funerals, the individual and collective exercise of nondenominational moral service within a philosophical-philosophical society, the individual or collective visitation of a building for worship or nondenominational moral service.
The mouth mask requirement remains in place.
Event industry and Covid Safe Ticket
No more restrictions on indoor events with less than 200 spectators and less than 400 spectators outdoors, unless the appropriate local authority decides otherwise.
Events with more than 200 spectators inside or more than 400 spectators outside will be able to use the Covid Safe Ticket from 1 September onwards. Only in this case do the obligations regarding the mouth mask, social distance and CIRM/CERM cease.
From 1 October this threshold will be raised at least to events with 500 spectators inside and 750 spectators outside.
In view of the lower vaccination rate in a number of municipalities in the Brussels-Capital Region, the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region has indicated that it will not apply a series of relaxations as of 1 September, including in the area of catering and teleworking.
Mandatory wearing of mouth mask and respecting safe distance
Wearing a mouth mask and respecting a safe distance of one and a half meters remain important tools to prevent the spread of the virus.
That is why the wearing of a mask remains compulsory in a whole range of situations, including on public transport and in railway stations, in shops and shopping centres, when travelling in catering establishments, in conference halls, trade fairs, auditoria, places of worship, court buildings, libraries and during demonstrations. Even in crowded places such as shopping streets, fairs and markets, the mouth mask requirement continues to apply as determined by the appropriate local authority.
As of September 1, the wearing of the mouth mask is no longer mandatory in publicly accessible areas of companies, public administrations or associations and in the cultural, festive, sporting, recreational and events sector for events and private parties with less than 200 spectators inside and 400 spectators outside, unless the local authority decides otherwise.
Mandatory vaccination of healthcare providers
Given the crucial role of health care providers in combating COVID-19 and the need to maximize patient protection, the Consultative Committee asks to explore modalities to introduce the obligation of full vaccination for all health care providers, including self-employed workers, both in the ambulatory sector and in health care institutions.
Health ministers are also asked to publish as soon as possible the vaccination coverage of health care providers per health care institution.
Additional efforts for complete vaccination
Full vaccination remains the main answer to the epidemiological evolution.
In order to reduce the virus circulation and hospital burden, the minimum limit of a 70% complete vaccination coverage should be reached in all municipalities of the country, as an intermediate step towards complete vaccination of the population.
In a number of municipalities, vaccination coverage remains below that level. This is the case in the three regions, but especially in the Brussels-Capital Region.
The Consultation Committee therefore supports the intention of the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region to organise specific actions to raise awareness and bring vaccination closer to the place of residence and work, including door-to-door initiatives. The Brussels-Capital Region also continues to strongly encourage teleworking.
The possibility is given to the states with municipalities where the epidemiological or vaccination situation demands it, to provide the Covid Safe Ticket for activities other than events.
Preparation of post-federal phase
The COVID-19 Commissariat and the National Crisis Centre are asked to prepare a comprehensive report on how to organise the possible end of the federal phase and the post-federal phase. It also extends the mandate of the COVID-19 Commissariat by six months, inter alia, to accompany the termination of the federal phase and to ensure the transfer of tasks.