A relatively high vaccination rate does not mean Belgium is safe to open up again

Belgium takes cautious steps to loosening Covid-measures

Belgium takes cautious steps to loosening Covid-measures

Nightclubs can bring back dancing with the new ‘Covid Safe Ticket’ system

Recently, Belgium announced a reworking of their Covid-guidelines, caused by stabilising infection rates. The new guidelines are developed by the county’s Consultative Committee, tasked with handling the pandemic and they will come into effect on 1 October.

The measures concern a number of fields like face masks, pub life and club life, use of the ‘Covid Safe Ticket’ and vaccination rates.

Belgium has one of the highest vaccination rates both in the European Union and in the world, yet their approach to loosening measures is very cautious. According to current figures, 91,8% of the population over 65 is vaccinated, compared to 71,9% of the overall population.

Despite the relatively high vaccination rate, there has been a slow increase in the number of cases in recent months. Now, they are going down for the first time since early July. Health authorities have registered around 19,723 COVID-19 hospital admissions from the start of the year until 8 August. A meager 2,1% of the patients were fully vaccinated and 6,4% were partially vaccinated.

Face masks and social distancing

Wearing a face mask will remain mandatory for anyone older than 12 on public transport, airports and stations, in a medical setting, for all customers and staff in medical and non-medical professions, during events and performances, sports competitions and training sessions and conferences with more than 500 people indoors.

These are the federal minimal requirements, however, states may force stricter regulations depending on the epidemiological situation.

Additionally, dancing in pubs and clubs will be allowed again, provided venues follow air quality and ‘Covid Safe Ticket’ measures.

The ‘Covid Safe Ticket’

The ‘Covid Safe Ticket’ is proof of full vaccination, of a recent negative PCR test or of a recovery from the illness. Indoor events up to 500 people and outdoor events with 750 and more people will be able to use the Ticket from 1 October instead of social distancing measures. They can also use the ticket to avoid closure if the infection rates rise.

Events can avoid following mask and social distancing guidelines if there is a sufficient number of Covid Tickets, however, they need to ask local authorities for permission beforehand.



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