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Politicians choose a cautious path to freedom

The advisory committee tends to follow the cautious path to freedom charted by Corona Commissioner Pedro Vaccon. You’ll likely wait until June, when patients over the age of 65 and at risk get vaccinated, to make things more flexible and restart the food industry completely.

Senior federal and regional ministers will discuss easing Corona measures on Wednesday in the advisory committee.

the essence

  • The advisory committee will consider easing Corona measures on Wednesday.
  • There is political consensus that schools will reopen on April 19. Pupils of the second and third levels of secondary education are still required to follow lessons partially online.
  • The stores could reopen on April 26, and maybe even the communication careers. However, there is still discussion about the modalities.
  • For outdoor relaxation and reopening of the terraces, it has not yet been decided whether this will happen on May 1 or 15.
  • It will likely be relaxing indoors and a full reopening of the food industry just before June 7th.

The rate of vaccination determines the speed: the more people are protected against the virus with a syringe, the more areola lines can be released. Politicians seem to be following the suggestion to a large extent. Overview of what’s on the table:

April 19: Back to school

Most students are allowed to sit in the classroom again. Only in the second and third levels of secondary education, students are still required to follow lessons online for half the time. It is also examining whether the rules on organized youth activities can be relaxed.

The ban on non-essential travel will also expire on April 18 Under European pressure, it will not be extended. He returns to the map with the red regions, as those who return from this red zone must be tested and isolated. Currently, Portugal and parts of Spain are the only regions not red in Europe where Belgians are welcomed with a negative Corona test.

April 26th: Shops reopen

Only in the second and third levels of secondary education will students still have to follow lessons online half the time.

Typically, hairdressers and beauty salons are also allowed to reopen their doors, although the question is whether certain requirements, such as testing, are in place due to the relatively high risk of contamination.

The curfew may also end on April 26. Flemings and Walloons now have to stay between midnight and 5 am, and Brussels residents between 10pm and 6am. There is a lot of protest against the curfew because it is so far-reaching for democracy. To avoid the Corona parties, the ban on gathering together – with a maximum of four people together – remains in effect.

What still threatens to lead to political debate are the events of the test. Many culture houses and sports organizers are asking, After the Dutch exampleTo resume their activities with strict procedures and extensive testing.

The Flemish government and MR are willing to go a long way on this, but there is definitely resistance from Health Minister Frank Vandenbroek (Furuitt). He wants assurances that test events are study projects and not an excuse to accelerate the opening of entire sectors.

May 1 or 8 or 15: The outside plan

Facon aims for further relaxation on May 15th, subject to adequate staff cuts to intense levels. All people over the age of 65 should be vaccinated by that time. But after that, activating the external plan, completely restarting cafes and restaurants, and implementing relaxation for sporting or cultural activities in enclosed spaces is an exaggeration, according to the Corona Commissioner.

The focus will be on the external plan. The virus is difficult to transmit in the open air. More than four people would be allowed to meet outside, presumably it would again be possible to practice contact sport together outside and the theme parks could reopen. Return times are also being considered for employees who have to work from home.

If it depends on the Flemish government, the stands will open earlier the next day tomorrow.

Political debate remains to be seen over the exact timing of the implementation of the external plan. If it depends on the Flemish government, the stands will open earlier the next day tomorrow. The idea is that, now that the weather seems to be getting better, people will anyway go out and sit in the yard in a controlled manner rather than hanging out all over the place.

There is no agreement in the federal government as to which path to take. The French-speaking liberals aim the MR for May 1st, the French-speaking Socialists will head for May 8th and other parties are more inclined to wait until May 15th, Facon suggests. It may be the toughest political knot the advisory panel has to cut on Wednesday.

June 7: The catering industry and the internal plan reopen

More relaxation, such as the complete reopening of the catering industry, will be postponed to June. By then, all high-risk patients must have been vaccinated, so we can – says Vaquon – take more risks. If the external plan is to go into effect on May 15 and the three-week rule is applied, that means re-opening on June 7. This date is still open for discussion.

Also for indoor and outdoor events – including cultural and sports activities with the public – the wait remains until June. The same applies to worship services, although an additional exception may have been made earlier for funerals, as there may now be a maximum of 50 people.

It’s still about relaxing under certain conditions. As long as everyone is not vaccinated, keeping distance will always be the rule. In cafes and restaurants, it is envisaged that there are a maximum of four people per table. Up to 500 people will be allowed in the events for now. This is a bitter pill to swallow for food industry and event organizers. Politicians will look at how aid measures can lead to relief.

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