Consultative Committee: free and safe summer travel
Today, the federal government and the federated entities convened the Consultative Committee to lay down the rules for free and safe summer travel. On Wednesday, 9 June, the first step of the Summer Plan also comes into effect, including the reopening of indoor catering and return days to the office for staff working from home.
The Consultative Committee notes that the number of corona patients in intensive care continues to decline and is well below the target threshold of 500 beds. The vaccination campaign is also up to speed, with more than eight in ten vulnerable people (those aged 65 and over and those with underlying conditions) having received their first vaccine dose two weeks ago.
The Consultative Committee confirms the objective to maximise vaccination coverage of the general population. In the meantime, caution remains the order of the day. For example, it takes up to three weeks after the dose has been administered before the vaccine provides adequate protection. During that time, one can become infected, seriously ill and infect other people. Adhering to the rules of conduct, such as wearing a face mask and respecting the 1.5 metre rule, is therefore still recommended.
Free and safe travel
The Consultative Committee today laid down the rules for travelling freely and safely within the European Union this summer. This will be possible thanks to the European digital corona certificate.
The certificate will be used in all EU countries from 1 July and is proof that someone has been vaccinated against corona, tested negative for corona or has recovered from corona.
Travel to countries outside the European Union, meanwhile, remains strongly advised against.
1. Returning as a resident after staying abroad
Returning from a green or orange zone:
- No obligation to quarantine or test. Please note: the status of a zone can change at any time during your stay.
Returning from a red zone:
Those with a digital corona certificate with full vaccination (+ 2 weeks), a recent negative PCR test (< 72 hours) or recovery certificate do not need to be quarantined.
Those who get tested immediately upon arrival (day 1 or day 2) do not have to go into quarantine. A negative PCR test is required for individuals 12 years of age and older. Children under the age of 12 are exempt from testing requirements.
Returning from a very high risk area (“variants of concern”):
Mandatory 10-day quarantine with PCR testing on day 1 and day 7.
This requirement also applies to persons who have been fully vaccinated or who have already tested negative in the country where they stayed. After all, these are dangerous virus variants that we want to keep out of Europe.
2. Arrival in Belgium as a non-resident
Arrival from a green or orange zone:
- No obligation to quarantine or test.
Arriving from a red zone:
Those with a digital corona certificate with full vaccination (+ 2 weeks), a recent negative PCR test or recovery certificate do not need to be quarantined.
The recent test must not be older than 72 hours before arrival in Belgium.
Arrival from outside the European Union:
- Those coming from outside the European Union must be fully vaccinated (+ 2 weeks) with a vaccine recognised by Europe and take a PCR test on the day of arrival. If the test is negative, this person does not need to be quarantined.
Arrival after staying in a very high risk area (“variants of concern”):
- There is a ban on entry for non-Belgians who do not reside in Belgium and who have been in a very high-risk area at any time during the past 14 days. An exception is made for essential travel by transport staff and diplomats. They must undergo a 10-day mandatory quarantine with PCR testing on day 1 and day 7. The quarantine may only be interrupted for the purpose of the essential reason.
3. Departure abroad
Anyone in possession of a valid digital corona certificate can travel freely within the Member States of the European Union. That is the basic principle. However, destination countries may always impose additional conditions.
You should therefore check the exact travel conditions of the country of destination or of the transit countries sufficiently in advance, to prevent unpleasant surprises.
Passenger Location Form is retained
The use of the Passenger Location Form remains the same.
The distinction between professional and non-professional travel is abolished. As of 1 July, a PLF must also be completed for professional travel instead of the Business Travel Abroad tool (BTA).
Two free PCR tests
For children and adolescents between 6 and 17 years of age and for adults who have not yet had the opportunity to be fully vaccinated and thus to acquire immunity, the cost of a PCR test will be reimbursed up to a maximum of € 55. This applies to tests taken in Belgium, subject to obtaining a Corona Test Prescription Code from the FPS Public Health.
Financial compensation can be obtained no more than 2 times, during the months July, August and September.
Catering industry opening hours
The opening time in the catering industry will be brought forward from 8 a.m. to 5 a.m. from 9 June.
The Consultative Committee also decided that from 9 June onwards, the closing time for both indoor and outdoor catering will be 11.30 p.m.
The Consultative Committee lays down the approval procedure for some 30 test events during the period from 1 July to 31 August. The aim is to acquire additional knowledge on how to organise an event safely, taking into account available scientific data.
Several test events will be organised on the use of the COVID Safe Ticket, air quality and crowd management, among other things.
The Consultative Committee clarifies the conditions for larger scale events starting 13 August. For participants in this events, full vaccination (+ 2 weeks) or a recent PCR test (< 72 hours) is required. It will also be possible to provide rapid on-site antigen testing.
The maximum number of participants allowed is 75,000.
Next Consultative Committee
The next Consultative Committee is scheduled for 18 June and will include further details on the Summer Plan starting 1 July.
To conclude: 10 tips for enjoying a safe summer
- Get vaccinated. The more people are vaccinated, the safer it becomes for all of us.
- Wash your hands regularly. And also follow the other hygiene rules such as when coughing or sneezing.
- Do you feel ill or do you have symptoms? Stay home and contact your GP.
- Test yourself if you have not yet been vaccinated. You can buy a self-test from your pharmacist.
- Go outside. Because it’s safer outside.
- Smaller is better. A group of five is safer than a group of fifty.
- Is everyone in your group vaccinated? Then you can take off your masks.
- Ventilate indoor spaces to avoid the formation of a virus cloud inside.
- Maintain a safe distance. It is safer to remain at 1.5 metres until everyone has been vaccinated.
- Keep it safe while travelling, too. Download the digital corona certificate, use your corona app, and find out about local rules.