Lhe representatives of the various governments of the country met on Friday at the Egmont Palace for a meeting of the Consultative Committee devoted to the health crisis. Several decisions have been taken. They have been criticized by some experts while regions have already announced that they will not apply them all.
Wearing the mask
This is undoubtedly the most spectacular measure: the obligation to wear a mask falls from October 1 for customers in shops and Horeca establishments. In fact, it falls everywhere, except in the cases listed by the Concertation Committee, namely public transport, stations and airports; organized public transport; health care establishments; for staff and patients / clients in the medical and non-medical professions; for store and shopping center staff; for staff in establishments and places where Horeca activities are organized; in spaces accessible to the public during events, cultural and other shows, competitions and sports training sessions if they take place indoors and in discotheques. Note that in these last two cases, if the Covid Safe Ticket is used, the mask is not required.
The reopening of nightclubs is confirmed on Friday, October 1, with a reinforced protocol, in particular on maximum capacity and air quality. This protocol has yet to be approved and will be before the reopening. Here too, regional differences are possible. Regions can impose the use of the Covid Safe Ticket. In this case, wearing a mask will not be compulsory.
The Concertation Committee confirms that, from October 1, events of more than 500 people indoors and 750 outdoors will be allowed through the use of the Covid Safe Ticket. The municipalities will have to give their agreement. The mask will then no longer be compulsory.
The Brussels problem
Although the decisions set out below are taken at the federal level, this does not prevent the Regions from taking measures on their territory. For example, the Brussels Region has decided to maintain the obligation to wear a mask in the sectors where it is currently applied, in particular shops, the cabinet of the Brussels Minister-President, Rudi Vervoort, informed on Friday. from the consultation committee.
“In Brussels, this situation will not make it possible to adopt the same flexibilities on October 1. In addition to the entry into force of the “covid stafe ticket” (CST) for several sectors, the obligation to wear a mask will have to be maintained in the sectors where it currently applies for all of Belgium, in particular in shops. These will in fact not be submitted to the CST, in particular to allow everyone access to essential shops, but consequently, wearing a mask will remain compulsory. It will be the same for the activities of contacts ”, explained the cabinet.
During the Concertation Committee, Alexander De Croo also indicated that “the situation in Brussels is not tenable, not acceptable (…). This epidemic is becoming an epidemic of people who are unvaccinated, he insisted. We cannot accept it, we cannot accept that people make the choice to put other people in danger. Intensive care has become a place to bring people together who are not vaccinated. “
On HLN Live, Steven Van Gucht of the Sciensano Public Health Institute reacted to the new decisions. According to the virologist, these relaxations are a little too early: “We are at the beginning of a difficult period. The big test doesn’t come until October, November, maybe even a little later. “
“We don’t really know how the infections will evolve during this period,” continues Steven Van Gucht. “That’s why I would have preferred the dozes to come a little later. There would then have been more data and therefore more certainty. The virologist, on the other hand, is satisfied with the regional approach. “It’s good that the rules are not immediately relaxed in places where the numbers are not good, in Brussels for example. The death rate is three times higher and the infection rate is even up to four times higher. In Flanders, there is more room for relaxation. “
But Mr Van Gucht does not want to put the whole of Flanders on an equal footing: “In Antwerp and in some municipalities around Brussels, the vaccination rate is still too low and we must pay attention to it The mask is a good tool market and efficient, it therefore remains an important weapon, especially in places where social distancing cannot be maintained. “
The virologist also welcomes the emphasis placed by the Consultative Committee on the importance of ventilation. Fitness centers and nightclubs, among others, will need to prove that they can effectively monitor air quality. “It is crucial in nightclubs, as in the rest of the hospitality industry where the mouth mask has hardly been used, to invest in good ventilation. “Indeed, according to the professor, the use of the Covid Safe Ticket is progress but is not a miracle solution:” The probability of being infected is lower, but it is not non-existent “.
Finally, Mr. Van Gucht recalls that vaccinated people can still get sick, even if they are less likely to end up in intensive care. “If the obligation to wear a mouth mask or the screening strategy in schools were to disappear, this could have significant effects. A school can become a hotbed of infection and have to close its doors. “
The governor of the province of Liège Hervé Jamar decided to issue a new police order on Saturday concerning the Covid-19 crisis. A decree which is applicable from this September 18 on the entire territory of the province and its 84 municipalities.
The Provincial Crisis Unit met at the initiative of the governor of the province of Liège with the sole theme of the situation relating to Covid-19. Which, if it seems rather favorable in certain parts of the country, is however considered worrying within the province which has also recently returned to alert level 4.
“This emerges from a recent assessment of the epidemiological situation by the RAG (Risk Assessment Group) which gave rise to recommendations from the RMG (Risk Management Group). It should also be remembered that at this stage, the crisis phase still remains federal. In this regard, the RAG notably reports a sometimes significant increase in the number of infections and hospitalizations in several municipalities of the province. As for the RMG, it lists a series of measures and thus leaves a certain autonomy to the local authorities ”, specifies the press release from the Governor’s services.
A new police order was therefore issued on the basis of the precautionary principle to underline the importance of clear rules. It is up to the municipal authorities and the police services to ensure its application. “This preventive decree is of course intended to contain an upsurge in the Covid-19 epidemic. He insists in particular on the respect of the rules of social distancing, and this on various occasions ”, adds the press release.
In addition, the wearing of a mask or an alternative fabric becomes compulsory again for any person over 12 years old, and this in several places. Note that this obligation to wear a mask does not extend to events submitted by their organizers to the Covid Safe Ticket.
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