The Interinstitutional Concertation Committee held a meeting on Thursday 9 July in the presence of the members of the Exit Strategy Expert Group (GEES). On this occasion, the members presented a new report to the political leaders in which they recommend the extension of the mandatory use of the mask. They agree with the opinion issued by the Superior Council of Health. On this basis, the Interinstitutional Concertation Committee decided to extend the compulsory use of masks, therefore following the new recommendations of the GEES.
As a reminder, the use of the mask was already compulsory in a limited number of situations, such as in public transport or in the exercise of a profession with close contact with the public (hairdressing, etc.) for instance.
From Saturday 11 July, the use of the mask will also be compulsory:
– in shops and shopping centres;
– in cinemas, theatres, concert halls, conference rooms, auditoriums, places of worship, museums, and libraries
This list could change over time, depending on the epidemiological situation in Belgium. The use of masks is still recommended in other situations.
Citizens who do not respect the obligation to wear a mask in the cases mentioned above may be subject to penal sanctions as stipulated in the ministerial decree. In addition, this decree will specifically consider the possibility to close establishments which repeatedly violate the current rules.
As a reminder, the mask is not compulsory for children under 12 years old. Particular provisions are also made for persons who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons.
A National Electronic Safety Council will ratify this decision on Friday 10th.
The authorities recall and insist that the mask is an additional protection that does not dispense with the six “golden rules” of deconfinement, namely:
– Apply hygiene measures such as regular hand washing;
– Encourage open-air activities;
– Pay particular attention to vulnerable groups;
– Maintain a safety distance of 1.5m as far as possible;
– Limit the number of contacts (15 people per week);
– Limit the size of meetings (15 people).
These six golden rules remain the first line of defence against the virus.