Belgium to ease COVID-19 restrictions, non-essential travel abroad ban in place until April 18
The plan initially gives priority to education and outdoor activities.
From March 8, the limit on outdoor gatherings increases from four people to ten. It is possible to gather with a maximum of 50 people at funerals, while social-distancing rules, such as wearing face masks and keeping a 1.5-meter safety distance, continue to apply.
From March 15, extracurricular activities will be possible for one day in primary and secondary education. The objective is to ensure that after the Easter vacations, teaching at the secondary schools will be 100 percent face-to-face.
Depending on the epidemiological situation, the federal government hopes to begin the second phase of relaxation from April.
Starting April 1, cultural activities will become possible outdoors with 50 people. The ban on non-essential travel abroad will be maintained until April 18. Restaurants and bars are set to reopen on May 1.
"The only real exit plan is the vaccination plan. The vaccination plan is the basic element that allows us to take a step forward," De Croo said.
To date, Belgium has recorded a total of 780,251 COVID-19 cases and 22,196 deaths since the outbreak of the pandemic. ■