COVID-19 alarm level 4: Consultative committee tightens corona rules for sport, culture and higher education

The Consultative Committee aligned a series of corona rules in the area of sports, cultural events and (higher) education in line with alarm level 4.

The stricter rules are needed to relieve the burden on hospitals, prevent all schools from closing, the entire economy from grinding to a halt and too many people feeling lonely due to a general lockdown. These are the following stricter corona rules:

1. Sports events: all professional indoor and outdoor sports events must take place without an audience present. All amateur matches are suspended. Youth matches for young people up to the age of 18 are still allowed, but are only open to a single member of the family. Offering and consuming drinks and food is still forbidden.

2. Higher education: the occupancy level is reduced to a maximum of 20% and wearing a face mask is mandatory, except for practical work when this is not possible. The rule does not apply to first-year students.

3. Indoor events and activities: maximum 40 people, if sufficient guarantees are provided that the organisation is coronaproof, and if the 1.5 meter distance and face mask rules are followed, maximum 200 people. Offering drinks and food is forbidden.

4. Public transport: each level of government shall ensure, within its area of competence, that the capacity of public transport during peak hours is optimised, to avoid crowding.

5. Amusement parks will be temporarily closed.

6. Zoos: indoor areas will be closed; offering and consuming drinks and food is forbidden.

7. Working from home is still the standard. Consultations are held with employers' federations to set up an awareness-raising monitoring system, to ensure the rule of working from home is applied wherever this is needed.

Given the particular urgency of the situation, the rules will enter into force immediately from the time of publication on Friday 23 October 2020. The rules shall apply until 19 November 2020, with an interim evaluation after two weeks.

The Consultative Committee also reminds everyone of the general rules for alarm level 4 that already came into force on Monday 19 October:

1. Close contacts ("cuddle" contacts) are limited to max. 1 person

2. Private gatherings are limited to the same 4 people every two weeks.

3. Gatherings in public areas are limited to a maximum of 4 people.

4. Markets and small fairs will remain open, but the consumption of drinks and food will be forbidden. Flea markets, second-hand fairs and small Christmas markets are forbidden.

5. Bars and restaurants are closed. They will remain closed for a period of four weeks, and this measure will be evaluated after two weeks. Picking up meals is possible until 10:00 PM. Receptions and banquets provided by a professional catering company are forbidden, except in hotels for guests who are staying at the hotel and gatherings after funerals (max. 40 people).

6. Night shops have to close at 10:00 PM. There is a ban on alcohol sales from 8:00 PM onwards.

7. Ban on entering the public space between midnight and 5:00 AM, except for essential, non-delayable journeys, such as urgent medical reasons, professional travel and commuting.