New Rules For Belgium
Post update – All rules and regulations in this post are in now in place until the 3rd of May 2020
As in this post
I have tried to spice up this post with a few interesting images but it is primarily an information post about the new restrictions that came into force in Belgium at 12 ‘O’ clock noon on Wednesday the 18th of March 2020. I am doing this to help anyone that might need or want this information because I have seen some mistakes made by the UK press, about the situation here in Belgium, at this time. Any rules mentioned in the last post about this, that are not covered here, remain the same.
All restrictions and information, in this post and the one linked above, are in force until the 5th of April 2020. Unless things are changed later.
Belgium Is Not In Lock down
This is the biggest mistake that I have seen in the international media. Although tougher rules have been put in place, people are not confined to their dwellings, as they are in Spain, Italy and France. Things are a lot more difficult here at the moment but to describe what is going on as a “Lock Down” is inaccurate.
Crime And Punishment
All rules in this post and the last one, about the COVID 19 restrictions, in Belgium are enforcible in criminal law and can incur fines of up to 4000 Euros and/or up to 3 months imprisonment.
As a work colleague of mine discovered last week, when he turned up for an appointment for a scan on his shoulder, all non vital treatments, scans and other non urgent or non life threatening treatments have been cancelled until further notice. Spoedopname (Accident and Emergency) units remain open.
Visits From Residence To Residence Are Banned
All doors need to remain closed to visitors, whether they be friends, family or any other persons. Each household is to remain separate from every other household.
Any one who can work from home must work from home. Other work places may remain in operation so long as they can meet a set of regulations, that include things like employees must be able to maintain a distance of one and a half meters from each other at all times and employees are not allowed to share a confined space. I have a six seater van all to myself, at work right now. There are more rules but they are too numerous to list here.
Shops And Shopping
Food shops, pharmacists, post offices and other essential shops remain open but entrance numbers of customers is limited to a number decided on by the square meter capacity of the store. All customers and staff must remain at least 1.5 meters distance from one another or be behind a protective screen. Some shops are refusing to take cash money, so card and smart phone payments are sometimes obligatory. All non essential shops are now totally closed, all week. On line shops and deliveries are allowed to continue operations.
Take Away Food
Take away food venues, frituurs (chip or fry shops), pizza, ETC, may remain open as normal. But no food is to be consumed on the premises. The number of customers on the premises is limited according to the size of the place. 1.5 metres distance must be maintained between queuing customers and staff.
Don’t try and dock that boat. With a very few and stringently regulated exceptions, all international travel to and from the European Union is now banned. Some border crossings within the EU are allowed but these are mostly for international goods transport and people trying to return to their country of residence. All non essential border crossing is now not allowed.
Public Transport Within Belgium
Trains, buses, ETC should be running to their normal schedules. But cash payments are frowned upon and even banned by some operators. Pre paid tickets and payment by smart phone are recommended and in some cases obligatory.
Children And Play Areas
Children from different households are not allowed to meet or gather in groups. All child play areas, indoors and outdoors are closed. Children who have parents or guardians that are separated or divorced are allowed to visit and reside with both parties.
Tourist Destinations Closed
These rules are to apply to the Ardennes and the Belgian coast. Tourists and day trippers are no longer allowed to visit these areas. Permanent residents are the only people allowed at these locations. Anyone with a holiday apartment, house, static caravan or any other sort of non permanent residence is not allowed to visit it.
The Catholic Church
The Catholic authorities, in Belgium, are allowing funerals to go ahead. But weddings and christenings are banned until further notice. I have no information about other weekly or daily services. I have no information from any other religious authorities in Belgium.
Rubbish (Trash) Collection
Rubbish (trash) collections, from residential housing, should continue as normal. Recycling and container parks have however been closed to the public.
Outdoor activities, such as walking and cycling are not only allowed but are encouraged. The rules are that you have to take part in these activities alone or with a maximum of one other member of the residence that you occupy. A minimum distance of one and a half meters must be maintained from anyone that you pass or meet. I have seen some very shouty conversations going on, when people see their acquaintances, whilst they are out and about.
1 – I am not ill in any way
2 – I have phoned my doctor and he has informed me that I am not in the high risk group for COVID 19 (massive relief).
3 – Mind, body and soul seem to be holding together surprisingly well, considering the circumstances.
4 – I am running short of Jelly Beans and cannot find any in the shops, B@?>Y panic shoppers 😦
Keep you peckers up and keep washing your hands everyone.