The Belgian Consultative Committee decides on the end of the Easter break

Yesterday, April 14th, the federal government and the governments of the federated entities discussed the coronavirus situation in the Consultative Committee.

The committee notes that the pressure in the healthcare system remains relatively high, especially in the intensive care units. More than a third of all hospitalized patients with coronavirus are in intensive care. This is a much higher proportion than a year ago or last autumn. Due to the spread of new variants of the virus, the face of the pandemic has changed: it has become not only more contagious, but also more aggressive. However, the committee also observes a positive evolution of some key figures:

  • The average daily number of infections with COVID-19 is decreasing;
  • The number of hospital admissions is starting to fall;
  • The reproduction rate is falling below 1.

In addition, the Consultative Committee notes the sustained acceleration of the vaccination rhythm. By April 19th, 60% of the 65+ age group should have received the first dose; by April 26th, this share should be over 70%; and by the end of this month, it should even be over 80%. Moreover, we expect that by the end of May, more than 80% of people in the 18-65 age group with co-morbidities should have received a first dose. According to science, a high level of immunity is achieved two to three weeks after the first injection.

On the basis of all this evidence, the Consultative Committee took the following decisions:


1. Reopening of schools

After the Easter holidays, classes will resume on April 19th under the regime in force before the Easter break. In concrete terms, this means the following:

  • Kindergarten, primary education, special secondary education, first level of secondary education and intermediate courses: 100% attendance;
  • Second and third level of secondary education: 50% face-to-face;
  • Higher education: physical presence on campus one day a week;
  • Examinations may be held in person.

If the contamination rates evolve favorably, and after an evaluation by the Ministry of Education, which will be submitted to this committee, 100% classroom-based secondary education may be resumed from May 3rd.


2. Non-essential travel: strict testing and quarantine regime

The prohibition of non-essential travel within the EU ends on April 19th. For travel outside the EU, communitarian rules still apply. All non-essential travel is still strongly discouraged.

Upon return, travelers must follow a strict regime of mandatory testing and quarantine. The Passenger Location Form (PLF) will allow police to track people who fail to be tested on their return. Anyone who fails to comply with the testing rules is liable to a fine of €250.


3. End of Easter break for shops and non-medical contact professions

On April 26th, the Easter break will come to an end. This means the following:

Gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed outdoors.

From that date onwards, non-essential shops will also be able to welcome customers again without an appointment. Shoppers no longer have to go shopping alone but can be accompanied by another member of the household.

Non-medical contact professions – such as hairdressers and beauty specialists – will be able to reopen under stricter protocols.

At the same time, around 30 experiments and pilot projects will be launched to establish from scientific point of view a way to safely restart various economic activities or to avoid their closure in the future.


4. Seven out of ten people aged 65 and over vaccinated and protected: Plan for outdoor activities

On May 8th, when almost all people over-65 have been vaccinated and protected, a broad plan for outdoor activities will come into effect.

Organized activities (i.e. activities of sports clubs or associations) will be allowed to bring together a maximum of 25 people outdoors and of all ages, but with no public or overnight stay. Children up to the age of 12 may be indoors with a maximum of 10.

In addition, the following will again be allowed outside:

  • Restaurants and cafés: outdoor terraces
  • Events (including receptions and banquets), cultural performances and worship services up to a maximum of 50 people
  • Amusement parks
  • Professional flea markets

The curfew will be abolished and replaced by a prohibition on gathering: between midnight and 5.00 a.m. one may be in the public space with a maximum of three people or with members of one’s own household.


5. Two close contacts at home

From May 8th onwards, one home will be able to accommodate two people from the same home at the same time, not including children up to the age of 12.


6. Nearly all people aged 65 and over and vulnerable people vaccinated and protected: a broader perspective

An important new milestone will be reached when almost all people aged 65 and over and those with co-morbidities have been vaccinated and protected. We expect a high rate of immunity in these groups by the first half of June. If the figures allow it, especially the occupancy rate in intensive care units, the “outdoor plan” will be further expanded and a plan for indoor activities may be considered, provided that the pressure on intensive care has been relieved for a long time, so that quality care is guaranteed for Covid and non-Covid patients.


7. Importance of vaccination

The committee notes that in some parts of the country too few people attend to their vaccination appointments. Vaccination is the only option for a structural and safe exit from the pandemic. Vaccines are safe and effective. Potential side-effects are very rare and mild, when compared to Covid symptoms, which are more frequent and mortal. Protect yourself and those around you by getting vaccinated.

The Federal Government and the Governments of the Federated Entities discussed the corona situation today in the Consultative Committee.

The Consultative Committee notes a new, high seven-day average of 221 hospital admissions and the fact that the number of infections is doubling every two weeks.

The positivity rate has also increased in the past week, with the strongest increases among teenagers (ages 10-19) and 40-64 year olds.

Most infections and clusters are identified in schools and workplaces.

Based on these findings, the Consultative Committee decided on a “cool-down package” to ensure that the upward trend is reversed, in terms of both the number of infections and hospital admissions.

1. Meetings outside with a maximum of 4 people

The group of people (children up to the age of 12 are not included) who are allowed to meet up outside will be limited to a maximum of four. Families consisting of more than four people are, of course, allowed to go out with more people.

2. Non-essential shops working by appointment only

Non-essential shops are only allowed to receive customers by appointment, with the maximum number of customers allowed in at one time depending on the size of the store and with an absolute maximum of 50 people. Two people from the same family are allowed to enter the store together.

Home deliveries and “click-and-collect” are still possible, provided there is no physical contact and nobody enters the retail space.

Essential shops (including food shops, pharmacists, as well as stores for hygiene products, clothing fabrics, flowers and plants, telecommunications stores, and newspaper and book stores) are allowed to continue to receive customers without an appointment.

3. Closure of non-medical contact professions

Non-medical contact professions are required to close down. These include:

  • beauty salons;
  • non-medical pedicure;
  • nail salons;
  • massage parlors;
  • hairdressers and barbers;
  • tattoo and piercing salons

4.  Youth and Education

Classes at all levels of education (primary and secondary, part-time arts education, higher education and social promotion) will be suspended from 29 March to 2 April. Kindergartens will remain open.  Exams can still be organized in the week before the Easter vacation.

Between 29 March and 2 April, childcare will be provided for employees who cannot work from home and for individuals who are unable to provide childcare. Classes resume after the Easter break on Monday, 19 April, with full in-person education for secondary education if possible.

Youth camps and extra-curricular activities for pupils are possible, but only during the Easter vacations, in limited groups of no more than 10 youth and without overnight stays

5. Tighter controls on working from home

The controls on mandatory working from home will be ramped up and tightened.

Employers must keep records showing the schedule of who will be present in the workplace and when. Public governments also need to comply with the obligations to work from home

6. Non-essential travel is still banned

Non-essential travel during the Easter vacations is still banned. Border controls will be substantially increased.

7. Demonstrations

The number of participants for static protests on public roads is limited to 50.

8. Importance of the basic rules

The Consultative Committee reiterates the importance of:

  • complying with the applicable health measures by the population,
  • strict enforcement by the police and inspection services of these measures,
  • mandatory working from home, as well as its strict enforcement by the inspection services,
  • measures taken by local governments to avoid crowding in busy areas.

The Consultative Committee, the Corona Commissariat and the Risk Assessment Group will continue to monitor the situation closely day by day and will meet immediately when the situation requires it.

The Ministerial Decree is valid until 25 April.


The Consultation Committee decides on an Outdoors Plan – more people outdoors from 8 March onwards

Last Friday, the Federal Government and the Governments of the Federated entities, meeting in a Concertation Committee, discussed the situation of the coronavirus. The Concertation Committee believes that caution remains the guideline and wishes to give priority to education, young people and outdoor activities in the first instance.

Outdoor activities present a much lower virological risk. By being able to be in slightly larger groups outdoors, people can strengthen their social ties that bind them together – a basic human need that has been undermined by the pandemic. This is important for young people in particular.

Outdoors in larger numbers
From 8th of March onwards, 10 people will be able to gather outside. However, it is still important to respect the rule of physical distance of 1.5m.

From the 8th of March onwards, it will also be possible to gather with a maximum of 50 people for a funeral or burial, as long as a space of 10 square metres per person is provided.

Focus on young people and education

From the 8th of March onwards, organised outdoor activities (sports and other) will be permitted:

  • For children (-13 years old) with max. 10 indoors or 25 outdoors.
  • For young people (-19 years old) with max. 10 outdoor.
  • The sports training audience is limited to one person per child.

From the 15th of March:

  • Extra-curricular school activities of maximum 1 day will again be allowed in primary and secondary education.
  • For vulnerable groups in special education and part-time vocational education, 100% face-to-face teaching will again be permitted.
  • A maximum of 20% face-to-face teaching will be allowed in higher education.

In addition, AM will also allow photographers to receive clients from the 8th March (maximum 1 consumer per 10 square metres, living under the same roof). Private saunas will also be opened for use by people living under the same roof. Jacuzzis, steam cabins and hammams will remain closed.

Outdoors plan
As long as the epidemiological situation allows it and depending on the pressure on hospitals and the progress of the vaccination campaign, an Outdoors Plan will come into effect from April onwards, which should allow the following activities to take place:

  • Outdoor activities organised for everyone (sports associations or others, including sports training): maximum 10 people. The public during sports trainings will be limited to one person per -19 years old.
  • Culture, events and worship: maximum 50 people, subject to the rules of distance and the obligation to wear a mask.
  • Amusement parks.
  • Primary and secondary education: after the Easter holidays, face-to-face lessons every day.

The Consultation Committee also decided to authorise during the Easter holidays activities organised with overnight accommodation for children and young people up to and including 18 years of age, provided that the group has a maximum of 25 people, not including supervision. The camp can only take place if all participants are tested before the start of the camp and at the end of the camp.

Massive investment in rapid tests
Provided that the epidemiological situation permits and depending on the pressure on hospitals and the progress of the vaccination campaign, and with the use of rapid tests, it will be possible to plan even more outdoor and indoor activities on the 1st of May. These include social contacts, outdoor and indoor catering, shopping and itinerant shops, culture and events, youth activities, worship, community life and sport, home care and funfairs.

Rapid tests could play a key role here. This will require the development of a flexible legal framework so that antigenic tests are widely available in the short term.

The Covid-19 Management Strategy Expert Group (GEMS) has been asked to develop a more detailed plan of approach so that the next steps can be taken safely. Particular attention will be paid to immunization and the role of CO2 measurement devices in reviving indoor activities.

Rules for non-essential travel
The Concertation Committee decided to maintain for the time being until 18 April 2021 the ban on travel for recreational or tourist purposes to and from Belgium, but this measure will be re-evaluated at the next Concertation Committee meeting. The travel ban is a responsible and indispensable measure if the circulation of the virus is to be prevented.

The Consultation Committee will review the situation of the coronavirus pandemic in Belgium on the 26th of March.


The Concertation Committee bans non-essential travel and extends isolation period

Last Friday, January the 22nd, the federal government and the federated entities discussed the current coronavirus situation as a Concertation Committee. In an attempt to stop the spread of new strains of coronavirus, the Concertation Committee has decided to temporarily impose a ban on non-essential foreign travel to and from Belgium.


I. Restriction of non-essential travel

Non-essential trips in and out of Belgium are prohibited from Wednesday, January 27th to Monday, March 1st, 2021. The travel ban will be monitored for road, air, sea, and rail traffic.

Anyone travelling to or from Belgium will be required to carry a sworn statement. A form will be made available by the Ministry of Interior. The sworn statement must be linked to the Passenger Locator Form and supported by the necessary documents.

Only essential travel is allowed during this period, i.e. travel for:

  1. Compelling family reasons
  • Family reunification;
  • Visits to a spouse or partner who does not live under the same roof, insofar as the stable and long-term character of the relationship can be proven;
  • Journeys in the context of co-parenting, civil and religious marriages, funerals or cremations (of relatives or next of kin).
  1. Humanitarian reasons
  • Travel for medical reasons and continuation of medical treatment;
  • Assistance or care to an elderly person, minor, disabled or vulnerable person;
  • Visiting relatives receiving palliative care.
  1. Study purposes
  • Journeys by pupils, students and trainees as part of a student exchange program;
  • Researchers with a hosting agreement.
  1. Residents of border areas
  • Journeys as part of everyday activities that are also allowed in Belgium
  1. Professional reasons when performing work-related activities
  2. Miscellaneous
  • Animal care, travel in the context of legal obligations (insofar as these cannot be done online), urgent repairs in the context of vehicle safety and a house move are also considered essential.

II. People travelling from the United Kingdom, South Africa, and South America.

As of Monday, January 25th, all people travelling to Belgium from the United Kingdom, South Africa or South America must quarantine for 10 days with a PCR test on day 1 and day

III. Additional test upon arrival

In addition to the mandatory negative test result prior to departure, the Concertation Committee would like every non-resident travelling to Belgium to be tested again upon arrival. This can be done with a PCR test or a rapid antigen test. The Concertation Committee has requested that the Interministerial Conference on Public Health, the Testing Task Force and the Covid-19 Commissariat make this mandatory.

Extended isolation period

People who test positive for Covid-19 will now have to isolate themselves for ten days.

After a high-risk contact or upon arrival in Belgium, the duration of quarantine remains ten days. This period may be reduced to a minimum of seven days on condition of a negative test result, where the test was taken, at the earliest, seven days after exposure.

Prospect for non-medical contact professions

At this stage of the pandemic, a reopening of non-medical close-contact professions is not yet appropriate.

This may become possible from February 13th at the earliest, provided that the epidemiological situation evolves favourably.

The Concertation Committee will review this situation on February 5th.

The opening of non-medical close-contact professions will only be possible if the existing protocols are strictly adhered to, supplemented by a series of additional measures such as the obligation to make an appointment, compulsory registration, customers waiting outside and windows and doors that must be open at all times.

Source: Info.Coronavirus

Luxembourg: Additional State Aids for Businesses

To help businesses to face covid-19 crisis and its impact on the economy, parliament on Thursday passed laws allowing two new forms of state aid, including compensation for the increase of the minimum wage.

Two new business aid measures, already outlined earlier this month by minister for small and medium-sized enterprises Lex Delles (DP), were adopted by MPs in the chamber on Thursday. Thery are aimed at helping businesses overcome the economic repercussions of the health crisis.

In order to help cover part of the uncovered costs of businesses in the restaurant, tourism, event, culture and entertainment sector, new financial assistance will be allocated in the form of monthly capital grants.

This contribution is only being allocated to companies that were already active in 2019. A company launched in April 2020, for instance, will not be eligible. In addition, in order access the grants, businesses must have suffered an economic loss of at least 40% during the period from 1 November 2020 to 30 March 2021, compared to the same period in 2019-2020.

Authorities will also take into account the size of the business. Accordingly, the maximum monthly subsidy is €20,000 for micro-enterprises (below 10 employees), €100,000 for small businesses (10-50 employees) and €200,000 for medium-sized (50-250 employees) and large businesses (more than 250 employees).

The form to request these aids can be found online.

Compensating the increase in minimum social wage

The aid announced by prime minister Xavier Bettel (DP) to compensate for the increase in the minimum social wage (SSM), which will come into play as of 1 January 2021, was also adopted by MPs on Thursday. This is a €500 capital subsidy that can only be paid once to businesses in sectors hit the hardest by the covid-19 crisis.

The amount is calculated on the basis of the number of full-time employees hired before 31 December 2020.

Extension of the short-time working scheme

Finally, during a meeting of the economic and social committee on 17 December, it was decided that businesses forced to keep their doors closed in light of the current restrictions, may, in exceptional cases, benefit from an additional period to apply for short-time work for the month of January 2021.

To this end, the companies in question, who have not yet submitted a short-time working application for the month of January will be able to do so via until 30 December 2020 included.

This article was originally published in French on and translated and edited for Delano. 

COVID-19: The Concertation Committee gives green light to the opening of non-essential shops and specifies the coronavirus control measures for the Christmas season

On November 27th, the Concertation Committee discussed the epidemiological situation in Belgium. Despite the slight improvement in the health situation, the country remains at Covid alert level 4. The Concertation Committee took the following decisions:

Reopening of shops under strict conditions:

Non-essential shops can reopen from 1 December 2020. However, strict hygiene conditions will apply:

  • Strict observance of basic rules, such as washing hands, keeping distance, wearing a mask;
  • Preventive measures must be visibly announced to all visitors, including staff and suppliers;
  • Hydroalcoholic hand gel must be available at the entrance; everyone entering the shop must disinfect their hands;
  • Staff must be properly trained;
  • Purchases are made individually with an adult for each shopping session. The company of children up to and including the age of 18 is limited as far as possible;
  • The visit to the shop should be as short as possible and last a maximum of 30 minutes.
  • The shop is also responsible for managing the queue outside the shop. Supervision of customers waiting outside the shop should be organised in such a way that the rules of physical distance are respected. The organisation outside the shop is done according to the guidelines of the local authorities.

The conditions also affect the maximum number of customers per square meter of accessible surface:

  • For shops, the rule of 1 customer per 10 square metres of accessible area applies
  • Shops of less than 20 m² can receive a maximum of 2 customers at a time, provided that the distance rules are respected;
  • Large shops of more than 400 m² must compulsorily provide access control;
  • Access to shopping centres, shopping streets and car parks must be organised by the competent municipal authorities, in accordance with the instructions of the Minister of the Interior, in such a way as to respect distance rules, in particular the maintenance of a distance of 1.5 metres between each person.

Museums and swimming pools may be opened in accordance with the protocol for their sector.

The Christmas period:

Also, during the Christmas period, the rules on social contacts remain applicable. In the interests of psychosocial well-being, single people can invite two close contacts at the same time, either on 24th or 25th December.

For meetings abroad, the rule of four still applies.

The curfew between 00h00 and 05h00 remains in force, as does the general ban on meetings. A general ban on the sale and release of fireworks also applies.

Reinforced travel controls:

For persons who have been abroad for more than 48 hours and will remain in Belgium for more than 48 hours, the police will carry out reinforced controls:

  • The obligation to fill in a passenger locator form;
  • Compliance with the compulsory quarantine.

All the above measures will be in force until 15th January 2021. An assessment based on medical indicators will be carried out at the beginning of January to determine whether a transition to the management phase is possible (see below) and for which sectors.

Downhill phase and management phase:

The Concertation Committee also decided to work in two phases on health management:

  • A downstream phase during which it is necessary to reduce the figures linked to pollution as quickly as possible by means of strict measures;
  • A management phase during which sector-specific protocols are in force. The sectoral protocols, which exist in various versions depending on the level of alert, are therefore reduced to a single protocol per sector, which is applied during the management phase and defines how to behave in a company that offers a sufficient level of protection against coronavirus.

To move from the downstream phase to the management phase, the incidence rate will have to be low for a sufficiently long period of time. In addition, not all sectors will be in the same phase at the same time. This will depend largely on the epidemiological risk posed by the sector.

Source: info-coronavirus

Restaurants and cafes will close since Thursday November 26th in Luxembourg

Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and Minister of Health Paulette Lenert confirmed on Monday new measures to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. As of Thursday, cafes and restaurants will have to close their doors.

Restaurants and cafes will have to close for three weeks as from Thursday, announced Prime Minister Xavier Bettel (DP) and Minister of Health Paulette Lenert (LSAP), in a press conference on Monday. “In the view of the evolution of the figures over the past few days, we have asked the congress to vote on the text presented last week. The vote will take place in Wednesday’s plenary and should enter into force the next day,” said the Prime Minister, adding that the curfew also remains applicable and will be extended until December 15.

In addition to the horeca sector, the number of visitors to private homes drops from 4 to 2, also until December 15, when the situation will be reassessed. “Just because restaurants are closed doesn’t mean you have to organize dinners at home,” Bettel said.

Theaters, cinemas, indoor play areas will be closed and the holding of fairs and other events will be suspended. Stores, for their part, will remain open, although the government nonetheless calls for avoiding non-essential activities.

Schools open, gyms closed

The schools will remain open – as well as their canteens – but the educational outings will be canceled. However, sport will be maintained there. The same goes for professional athletes who, because of their profession, will be able to continue training. Amateurs will again be deprived of sports, fitness and team sports halls.

“Sport is important, but we cannot afford to leave open places where we do not wear a mask”, underlines the Prime Minister, who recalls that it is always possible “to walk with four other people or to jog “, while respecting safety distance.

“We have a still stable situation, which is not catastrophic, but we want to have margins for what will come. Our measures allow, according to the opinions we have received, to anticipate. The level of contamination remains too high and we are taking these measures to avoid finding ourselves in a situation, in a few weeks, where we could not avoid total containment “, justified the Prime Minister.


Federal government votes in favor of comprehensive socio-economic support plan

The coronavirus crisis is not just a health crisis. It is also a serious socio-economic crisis that is hiting hard people and businesses. The federal government cannot and does not want to remain indifferent to all these people and businesses that are on the brink. They need help today: concrete support that is significant enough to get them through this second difficult period in less than a year.

This is why the government chooses not only to extend the support measures that were in force during the confinement imposed in the spring (until the first quarter of 2021 included), but also announces a whole new series of measures. The cost of this aid could be seen as a one-time expense, but it is much more than that: it is an investment in people and businesses that before the crisis were self-sufficient and economically sound, but they are no longer because of the difficult circumstances.

With these support measures, the federal government focuses on four main objectives: people who had a job but who, due to the difficult situation caused by the coronavirus, lost it or had to close their business. We want to support them both in their income and in maintaining their social rights;

2. Save healthy companies by supporting them both in terms of their liquidity (cash flow) and their solvency;

3. Support people living in poverty or at increased risk of poverty. As they are often disproportionately affected by the coronavirus crisis;

4. Strengthen crucial sectors which have been particularly affected by the crisis: in particular health care, education and agriculture and horticulture.

  1. Main measures

Extension of existing measures

1. Possibility of individual postponement of payments in the fiscal field without fines or late interest.

2. Tax exemption of subsidies granted by towns, municipalities and federated entities.

3. Reduction of VAT (6%) on hydroalcoholic gel and masks.

4. Extension of free notarial powers of attorney avoiding going to the notary.

Suspension of checks on the residence condition (maximum 29 days abroad per year) under the income guarantee for the elderly (GRAPA).

  • Business support

Extension of existing measures

6. Extension of the increased deduction for investment of 25% until the end of 2022, allowing SMEs, one-person businesses and the liberal professions to deduct a large part of their investments from their taxable income.

7. Extension of the SME guarantee scheme and the credit insurance guarantee scheme until June 30, 2021. Simultaneously with this extension, the Ministry of Finance will extend, in consultation with the financial sector, the current moratorium for loans to companies.

8. Reopening of temporary unemployment due to force majeure to all companies. During this period, the temporarily unemployed salaried worker receives compensation equal to 70% of his gross monthly salary (capped at 2,754.76 euros). In addition, the salaried worker receives an allowance from the ONEM of 5.63 euros per day of temporary unemployment. This measure will apply until March 31, 2021, with the possibility of extension.

New measures

9. Implementation of the agreement of the social partners by which the State partially intervenes in the financing of the holiday pay for the temporarily unemployed. In the calculation of this holiday pay, the days of temporary unemployment are assimilated to days worked.

10. Broadening of the scope of the exemption from social security contributions for the third quarter of 2020 to other sectors (than the hotel and catering industry and the events sector) which have been forced to close. Suppliers in sectors that have had to shut down can also resort to this measure if they can provide evidence of a loss of sales of at least 65%. A ceiling will be applied per company with regard to the total amount of this exemption.

  • Support for self-employed workers

Extension of existing measures

11. Extension of the double “droit passerelle” right in force until December 2020 inclusive for all sectors that have had to close. For a self-employed person with no family, this amounts to 2,583.4 euros per month. For a self-employed person with a dependent family, this amounts to 3,228.2 euros per month.

12. A new “droit passerelle” will come into force from 1 January 2021, which can still be invoked in the event of a crisis. It will be based on a significant decrease in turnover. The concrete modalities will soon be developed taking into account the opinions of the General Management Committee.

13. Additional postponement for the payment of the contribution payable by companies until the end of 2020. A postponement was already planned until October 31, 2020; it is now extended until December 31, 2020.

14. Supplementary allowance for incapacity for work so that self-employed cohabitants who are sick also benefit from an allowance as high as the “droit passerelle” (this is already the case for single self-employed workers and self-employed workers with family responsibilities) . Concretely, this is a premium of more than 300 euros per month.

New measures

15. Temporary improvement of traditional “droit passerelle”, in particular through better accessibility for starters and maintenance of the constitution of pensions.

16. Payment plans for self-employed workers who have obtained a deferral of payment of social contributions, while retaining the right to reimbursement of health care costs. Until December 31, 2021.

  • Support for salaried workers

Extension of existing measures

17. Reduction in the withholding tax for temporary unemployment.

18. The Ministry of Finance and the Minister of the Economy will consult with the financial sector in order to extend the current moratorium on mortgage and consumer loans. The consultation will also concern “leasing”.

19. Temporary unemployment due to a child in quarantine. The current measure will be extended to other situations where the child must be placed in quarantine, with a certificate of control.

20. Additional allowances for incapacity for work to reach the level of temporary unemployment benefit. Concretely, this means that, if the incapacity for work allowance is less than 70% of the average gross monthly salary (capped at 2,754.76 euros), it will be accompanied by a supplement of 5.63 euros per day. up to that amount.

Flexible access to unemployment for artists. Artists who can provide proof of at least 10 artistic performances or 20 days of work during the period from March 13, 2019 to March 13, 2020, are granted access to artist unemployment.

22. Additional budget of 13.07 million euros for consumer vouchers in the healthcare sector and extension of the validity of consumer vouchers until the end of 2021.

New measures

23. Payment by the ONEM of a supplement to the end-of-year bonus to workers who have been temporarily unemployed for a long time. Workers who have been temporarily unemployed for at least 52 days in 2020 will receive a supplement to their end-of-year bonus of 10 euros per additional day of temporary unemployment (beyond 52 days). For any worker meeting the conditions, the total supplement will always amount to a minimum of 150 euros.

24. Support plan for (tele) services and teleworking of civil servants. Concretely, this involves providing coaches and training in stress resistance and the fight against burnout for managers in the context of remote management of staff, improving the effectiveness of interviews and selection tests and improvement of digital communication for civil servants.

25. A single envelope of 200 million euro is foreseen for hospital staff (salaried and self-employed workers). The competent minister will consult with the social partners to finalize these support measures for hospital staff. Consultation will also take place with the federated entities in the Interministerial Public Health Conference.

  • Support for the most vulnerable

Extension of existing measures

26. Grant of 50 euros per month for beneficiaries of the integration income, the income guarantee for the elderly (GRAPA) and the income replacement allowance (ARR).

27. Extension on the freeze of the degression of unemployment benefits until the end of 2020. As a result, the unemployed will not experience a reduction in their unemployment benefits from April 1 to December 31, 2020.

28. Continuation of winter plan for homeless people.

29. Increase in the reimbursement percentage (up to 15%) to the CPAS for the payment of integration income.

New measures

30. Entry into action of the Vulnerable Groups Task Force. This task force will develop measures, in collaboration with actors on the ground, to support the most vulnerable. A budget of 75 million euros is foreseen for this purpose.

  • Additional workers in critical sectors

Extension of existing measures

31. Increase in the quota of voluntary overtime up to 220 hours in the healthcare sector, other crucial sectors and essential services. This additional overtime will be tax exempt; no additional salary will be applied.

32. Facilitate the temporary posting of workers to another employer in the healthcare or education sector.

33. Temporarily unemployed people can work in agriculture and horticulture, healthcare and education, with 75% of their benefits maintained.

34. Allow the temporarily unemployed to conclude successive fixed-term contracts of at least 7 days with another employer, in the care and education sectors.

35. Increase in the ceiling for the accumulation of integration income with seasonal work income and student work income with a study grant.

36. Extension of COVID-19 Volunteer Compensation Fund and Authorization for Commercial Hospitals to Engage Volunteers.

37. Extension of measures relating to pensions. The aim is, among other things, that pensioners who have an activity as an employee or self-employed can combine their pension with temporary unemployment compensation or “droit passerelle”. In addition, the constitution of the pension of temporarily unemployed persons will be preserved, including the constitution of the second pillar. It is also necessary to prevent pensioners who temporarily resume an activity, for example in the health care or education sector, from losing part of their pension.

38. Doubling of the seasonal work quota also in 2021 and temporary unemployment for seasonal workers who arrive in Belgium and must be placed in quarantine.


COVID-19- The federal government and the governments of the states have today decided in the Consultative Committee to proceed to a stricter lockdown

The stricter rules are necessary to stop the increasing pressure on the hospitals and to change the infection curve as quickly and radically as possible.

1. Social life

  • Each family member is entitled to 1 close contact. Families should only invite one close contact at a time at home. One cannot receive another visit at home. There is an exception for people who live alone: ​​they are allowed, in addition to their close contact, to invite person, but not at the same time.
  • Meetings outside: rule of four, at a safe distance
  • Funerals with a maximum of 15 people present. Without meal or reception afterwards.
  • Places of worship open, but without worshipping. Meetings of up to 4 people, with a face mask and at a safe distance.
  • The borders are not closed in accordance with European agreements, but foreign travel is strongly discouraged.
  • Marriages take place only in the presence of the spouses, witnesses and civil registrars.

2. Economic life

  • Telework is mandatory, wherever possible. Where telework is not possible, mouth masks and ventilation are mandatory. Company canteens will be closed.
  • The holiday parks and campsites will be completely closed from Tuesday morning 3rd November. Indoor and outdoor activities will be stopped in holiday parks until then. Swimming pools, restaurants and bars will be closed. Meals are taken in the holiday homes, per family.
  • Hotels and B & Bs will remain open, but restaurants and bars will close. Meals are taken in the room.
  • Non-essential stores close, but can organize pick-up and home delivery of pre-ordered goods. No access to the shop upon collection.
  • To maintain a level playing field, supermarkets and markets (<200 people) limit their offer to what is offered in the essential shops.
  • Bicycles workshops and bicycle shops only carry out repairs.
  • Non-medical contact professions (including hairdressers, make-up artists, wellness, massage, beauty salons) will close.
  • Businesses and agricultural holdings will remain open, subjected to the obligations regarding teleworking, mask and social distancing.
  • Zoos are closed.

3. Schools

  • Classes will be suspended on November 12th and 13th for all levels of education. Classes will continue on Monday, November 16th.
  • For secondary education, students of the second and third level will have a maximum of 50% in person education, until December 1st. Before December 1st, we will evaluate whether up to 100% of in person education is possible again.
  • Distance learning is provided for higher education:
    • For the freshmen: until December 1st when they can start in person education again.
    • For senior students: at least until the end of the year.
  • Teachers meetings are online; this also applies to pedagogical study days.
  • It is forbidden to organize physical team building.

4. Start and end date

  • The measures will take effect across the territory from Monday, November 2nd, 2020.
  • The measures apply for a month and a half, until Sunday December 13th, 2020. For the non-essential stores, an evaluation by the Consultative Committee will take place on December 1st.



New measures adopted in Brussels and Wallonia to fight the Covid-19 virus

In view of the gravity of the second wave of the epidemic in Wallonia, the governments of Wallonia and the Walloon-Brussels Federation, in agreement with the governors of the five Walloon provinces, have adopted a series of measures in addition to those decided by the Federal Coordination Committee on October 23.

These measures enter into force on Monday 26 October and will last at least until 19 November.

  • Curfew extended from 22h to 6h

This curfew applies except in the case of essential travel that cannot be postponed, such as:

o Access to medical care;
o Assistance and care of the elderly, minors, disabled and vulnerable persons;
o Business travel, including travel to and from work.

  • Stores and shops

Purchases must be made by a maximum of two people (except for children under 12).

  • Teleworking

Teleworking is mandatory. In the case of occupations where workers are unable to perform their activities through telework, employers and unions must ensure that rules on social distancing, the use of protection masks and other health measures are effective and monitored.

  • Residencial centers, retirement and nursing homes

Visits to the residencial centers, retirement and nursing homes are limited to a maximum of one visitor per resident, always the same for 15 days. After this first 15-day cycle, either the visitor begins a new 15-day cycle of visits or a new visitor begins a new 15-day cycle of visits.

The visits must take place in a dedicated space and not in the room (except in exceptional end-of-life situations or in the presence of a slip syndrome).

In order to reinforce the teams that are in the front line in the nursing homes and hospitals, the Walloon Government also calls on home care nurses, nursing students, care assistants and medical students. For nursing homes and residential centers for the disabled, educators are called upon. All these people can get involved on the website

  • Higher education

All higher education classroom courses are suspended until November 19 (except for practical work, laboratories and internships).

  • Sports

All indoor sports are suspended until November 19, except for children under 12.

Amateur sports competitions and sports training for children over 12 are prohibited.

In addition, Brussels has also taken the measures announced below:

  • The curfew will be extended from 22h to 6h, as in Wallonia.
  • Protection masks are once again compulsory at all moment outdoors.
  • It will be forbidden to gather more than four people in the public space.
  • Drastic reinforcement of teleworking by making it compulsory.
  • The stores will have to close at 20h. Only one person will be allowed to enter the stores to do their shopping. Deliveries can be made until 22h.
  • Cultural centers, theaters and cinemas must close, as well as all sports facilities. All sports competitions are cancelled, even for children under 12, but training sessions for those under 18 will continue. Training sessions for those over 12 are also cancelled.
  • The rules regarding residencial centers do not change, visits are still limited to two people.
  • Marriage celebrations will only take place in the presence of the spouses, their witnesses and the registrar (civil marriage) or the officiant (religious marriage). For funeral ceremonies, only a maximum of 15 persons are allowed.

All these measures are applicable from today, October 26th until November 19th.

Sources: Wallonie and bx1