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Belgium Tightens Measures, Brussels region closes bars & cafés

COVID-19 cases, hospital admissions, and deaths are rising in Belgium. In the face of this situation, the country has decided to tighten its safety measures. Besides, Brussels has decided to close all bars and cafés.

By: Paulien Debrie October 15, 2020

Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke announced new safety measures at Tuesday’s (October 6) press conference. The new measures come on top of those that are already in force.

Both Ministers emphasized the importance of adherence to the basic rules: hand hygiene, social distancing, and wearing face masks when social distancing is not possible. The new rules will start Friday, October 9, and will last a month.

Cafés and bars countrywide have to close at 11:00 PM. Per table, no more than 4 people are permitted. The rule applies to inside as well as outside tables. Exceptions will be made for people and families of more than 4 living under the same roof.

Restaurant rules remain the same.

Close social contacts – people you cuddle and kiss – will be reduced to 3 people. They don’t belong to the people you are living with. So, everyone can have 3 people they don’t have to ‘social distance’ with in addition to their housemates.

You are allowed to invite 4 other people at home. Children are not included. You have to keep your distance at this private gathering. Non-organized gathering with no more than 4 people in the open air is still allowed.

Lastly, it is strongly recommended to work from home.

However, the situation in the Brussels region is different. It is worrying and very serious.

Brussels is shutting down bars and cafés from Thursday, October 8 at 7:00 AM. Like in overall Belgium, the new measure will apply for a month. The city is second in an infection level based ranking of European capitals. It means that Belgium’s capital is behind Madrid (Spain) and ahead of Paris (France).

The shutdown also includes the cafeterias of sports clubs, and party and event halls. In addition, drinking alcohol in public is banned in Brussels.

Amateur sports events and competitions can continue without the public. But people can still attend professional sports events.

For now, there are no changes regarding schools or universities. In the following days, Brussels is meeting with education representatives.

** Paulien Debrie is a Brussels based student completing her Masters Degree in Communications. She is also a virtual intern with Heintz Media Group, and writes for