Decisions of the Consultative Committee of 27 November 2020

The Consultative Committee has taken the following decisions:

1. Reopening of shops under strict conditions

Non-essential shops may reopen from 1 December 2020.
However, strict hygiene rules will apply:

  • Strict adherence to the basic rules such as washing hands, keeping your distance and wearing a face mask.
  • The prevention measures must be visibly displayed for all visitors, including staff and suppliers.
  • Disinfectant hand gel must be available at the entrance. Everyone entering the shop must disinfect their hands.
  • Staff must receive appropriate training.
  • People should do their shopping alone, with a single adult being allowed per shopping session. The company of children up to and including 18 years of age should be limited as much as possible.
  • Shop visits should be as short as possible and last no more than 30 minutes.
  • Shops are responsible for managing the queues outside the store.  The shoppers waiting outside should be supervised, to ensure the distance rules are complied with. The organisation outside the shop is handled according to the guidelines of the local authorities.

The conditions also apply to the maximum number of customers per square metre of accessible floor space:

  • For shops, the standard is one customer per 10 m².
  • Shops with an area of less than 20 m² can allow a maximum of 2 customers in at the same time, provided that the distance rules are complied with.
  • Large shops of more than 400 m² have to provide access control.
  • Access to shopping centres, shopping streets and car parks is organised by the competent municipal authority, in accordance with the instructions of the Minister of the Interior, in such a way that the distance rules can be respected, in particular maintaining a distance of 1.5 metres between each person.

Museums and swimming pools are allowed to open in accordance with the protocol of their industry.

2. Christmas period

During the Christmas period, social contact rules will continue to apply. Singles will be able to receive both their contacts at the same time on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day to protect their psychosocial well-being.

For meetings outside, the rule of four continues to apply.

The curfew between midnight and 5 a.m. remains in force, as does the ban on gatherings. There will also be a general ban on the sale and setting off of fireworks.

3. Tighter controls on travelling

Persons who have spent more than 48 hours abroad and who will remain in Belgium for more than 48 hours will be subject to stricter controls:

  • Completing the Passenger Locator Form
  • Compliance with mandatory quarantine

All of the above measures shall apply until 15 January 2021. At the beginning of January, the situation will be re-assessed, based on the medical indicators to see whether and for which industries a transition to the management phase (see below) is possible.  

Decline phase and management phase

The Consultative Committee also decided to move to two phases in healthcare management:

  1. A decline phase during which the infection rates are brought under control as quickly as possible, with strict measures.
  2. A management phase with protocols being in force per industry. Existing industry protocols with multiple versions per alarm level are reduced to a single protocol per industry. This protocol then applies to the management phase and determines how people should behave in a society that is "corona proof".  

To be able to proceed from the decline phase to the management phase, the incidence has to be sufficiently low for a sufficiently long time. Also, not all industries will be in the same phase at the same time. This will greatly depend on the epidemiological risk of the industry.