Update Corona – exit strategy Belgium
The National Security Council proposed on Friday evening, April 24th, its “exit plan”. The Security Council stressed that it is an evolving plan. Depending on the number of infections and in particular the number of hospitalisations, the measures can be more restrictive if necessary.
The exit plan is also a phased plan. The phasing out of the measures will take place in phases, the first of which will take effect on 4 May. That means that the current measures will continue to apply fully until 3 May.
Up to and including 3 May, the distance of 1.5 metres between employees in non-essential sectors must therefore be maintained at all times. If this distance cannot be maintained, the work must be stopped.
From 4 May onwards, keeping your distance and working from home will remain the norm. The distinction between essential and non-essential sectors will disappear. That means that working from home will no longer be compulsory and that if it is impossible to maintain the distance of 1.5 metres, you will no longer have to stop all activities but will have to take additional preventive measures (including wearing mouth masks, plexiglass for collective transport, …).
In addition, the Group of Ten (consisting of workers’ and employers’ representatives) has drawn up a Generic Guide of “good practices”. Unfortunately, this Generic Guide is currently only available in Dutch and French.
The toolbox of the Generic Guide can serve as a guide for a restart of the activities. This guide is therefore not binding and the welfare inspectorate can also check on other matters.
It is also possible that separate protocols will be developed at sector level, focusing on the problems of that specific sector. It is even possible that stricter measures will be taken at sector level.
For employees travelling by public transport, you should keep in mind that mouth masks will be compulsory from 4 May.
In a second phase (from 11 May), all stores in Belgium will be able to reopen at the same time (regardless of size or sector). This has yet to be put into practice in consultation with the sectors and social partners. Naturally, this reopening will take place under strict conditions (e.g. limitation of the number of customers per store).
From 18 May onwards, schools in Belgium will gradually open but not all study stages will start at the same time.
From then on it will also be possible to see whether private meetings can be held at home again (family gatherings), to allow more people to attend weddings and funerals or the possibility to organize day trips on the Belgian territory, …
From June 8th at the earliest, a reopening of the hospitality industry (restaurants, bars, …) will be considered, although under strict conditions.
Mass events such as festivals will not be allowed to take place before 31 August anyway.