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Measures to deal with the coronavirus (Covid-19): frequently asked questions

Measures to deal with the coronavirus (Covid-19): frequently asked questions

General Measures

When can I go outside?

You're expected to stay home as much as possible. You're only allowed to come out for the following things:

  • Going to work
  • A relocation in the context of your work
  • Going to the store
  • Going to the ATM
  • Go to the doctor
  • Helping vulnerable people

These measures will apply until 5 April.

 

Measures for shops and businesses 

Which shops are allowed to remain open?

All stores are closed except:

  • Food shops, including night shops (until 22h)
  • Shops selling mainly pet food
  • Pharmacy
  • Newspaper shops
  • Petrol stations
  • Hairdressers, provided they only receive 1 customer at a time

 

On what condition are these stores allowed to open?

The following precautions must be respected:

  • The necessary measures must be taken so that a social distance of 1.5 metres can be guaranteed.
  • In supermarkets, a maximum of 1 customer per 10m² and for a maximum of 30 minutes may be present
  • Discounts and promotions are prohibited
  • Food stores may be open from 7 a.m. - 10 p.m.
  • Night shops have to close at 10 p.m.

 

Do cafes and restaurants remain open? 

Cafes must close and restaurants must close their hall. The ban applies equally to the terraces of these establishments. Company restaurants also close.

  

Are takeaways and home deliveries still allowed? 

Restaurants that deliver at home, take out or offer a catering service can open their kitchen.  If they offer this service, they should be careful to avoid queues. 

 

Will chip shops and sandwich shops remain open? 

Sandwich shops, chip shops and snacks stay open. Their owners must avoid queues.   The ban applies equally to the terraces of these establishments. Company restaurants also close.

 

 

Are local markets still organized? 

Local markets will not continue unless the food stalls are indispensable for the supply of food and the local government can guarantee the measures from a social distance.

 

Are hair salons open? 

Hairdressing salons can open during the week and only by appointment. They may treat a maximum of 1 customer at a time. They close during the weekend. 

 

Can hotels stay open? 

Hotels, vacation homes, campings, vacation centers, guesthouses, etc. remain open without providing access to a bar, restaurant, common halls and recreational areas. 

 

Can hotel restaurants remain open? 

The hotel kitchen can remain open, but its restaurant room must close, so it can offer room service. 

Do animal shelters stay open?
Animal shelters remain open, both during the week and at weekends.

Should we stock up on food?   

This is not necessary: food stores continue to be supplied normally and remain open as usual. 

  

Measures relating to the working methods of companies

What are the working methods that companies should recommend?

Teleworking is compulsory in all companies not belonging to the essential services, regardless of their size and for all employees for whom it is possible, without exception.

Where this is not possible, companies must be guaranteed the social distance of 1.5m. This rule also applies to the organisation of transport by the employer. If these measures are not followed, the company must close down.

 

Measures for schools

Do schools remain open? 

Yes. Classes and school activities are interrupted. Schools take care of childrenorganised exclusively by internal staff, whose parents work in the care sector or essential public services or have no other care solution than their grandparents. 

Schools are asked to further strengthen their hygiene measures (possibility of washing their hands regularly, cleaning school furniture, regular ventilation of the premises, etc.) 

The refectories may remain open. 

 

Are companies allowed to take initiatives for the care of children of their employees?  

If such care systems already existed, they can continue. However, no new childcare initiatives can be set up. It is necessary to avoid putting together children who did not come into contact with each other beforehand.   

 

How can I organize the reception of my children if I have to go to work? 

It is not recommended to have grandparents watch children as the elderly are among the groups vulnerable to coronavirus. However, you can leave your children to another family member, to a friend, to your children’s school who will organize the reception or to an independent carer.  All solutions that do not involve vulnerable people are acceptable. 

 

Are nurseries open? 

Yes. Crèches will continue to welcome your young children normally. 

 

What about higher education institutions? 

Universities and higher education institutions are advised to organize distance learning as much as possible. 

 

Are evening courses or continuing education establishments continuing to operate? 

Evening classes and continuing education must also develop distance learning solutions. 

 

Are special education establishments and boarding schools open? 

Yes. They stay open but they do not provide classes. 

 

Will schools for security professions be closed?

Fire, police and safety schools will continue to provide basic training. It is recommended that lessons are given remotely. If this is not possible, lessons may continue in the schools when hygiene measures and social distancing are respected and no new mix groups are created between the different classes.

For further training, they will be given according to the evaluation of the organizing body.

 

Measures for services 

Will the municipal and provincial councils continue?
The proper functioning of the authorities must continue to be guaranteed. They should be limited to those items on the agenda and persons present who are strictly necessary (prefer videoconferencing, live streaming for citizens, etc.).

Do administrative services remain open? 

Administrative services can be maintained (marriage, issuance of official documents, etc.) but NOT large gatherings on the premises.   

 

Measures for the cultural and sports sectors 

Are gatherings allowed?

All gatherings, cultural, social, festive, folkloric, sporting or recreational activities are prohibited until April 5th, whether private or public.

 

Are concerts and festivals canceled? 

All events, both indoor and outdoor and regardless of the size of the public, are canceled until April 5 inclusive. 

 

Do theaters and cinemas stay open? 

Theaters, operas, cinemas and cultural centers are closed to the public until April 5 inclusive. 

 

Can I still go to the library? 

Libraries are open on weekdays and only for extracting books, the reading rooms and computer rooms are closed. They close on weekends.

 

Are museums and exhibitions still accessible? 

Museums and exhibitions are closed to the public until April 5 inclusive. 

 

Do drawing and music academies still organize their courses? 

Drawing and music academies are closed until April 5 inclusive. 

 

Are theme parks and recreation centers closed? 

Amusement parks, indoor playgrounds, recreation centers and animal parks are closed until April 5 inclusive. 

 

Will sporting activities take place? 

Sports meetings, events, group sports training, with or without an audience, are canceled until April 5 inclusive. 

Can I go for a walk?
Yes, only with the people who live under the same roof or with a friend. This is only allowed when the social distance of 1.5m is respected.

 

Are sports halls closed? 

Gyms, fitness rooms and swimming pools are closed until April 5 inclusive. 

 

What about sports competitions and activities within the framework of youth movements?

Activities within the framework of youth movements, sports competitions, sports and leisure camps, group activities (group cycling, group walks...), go-karts for one or more people, private riding lessons, surfing...), playgrounds (indoor and outdoor), ... are canceled until April 5.

 

Measures for transport 

Does public transport still operate? 

Public transport remains active but should only be used for essential journeys. It must be organised in such a way that the social distance of 1.5m can be guaranteed. When using public transport to travel to and from work, make sure you adapt your itinerary as much as possible to avoid the "rush hours". The public transport pay machines remain open.

Reference is made to the relevant websites for the transport companies' available offers.

 

Are taxis still allowed to transport customers? 

Taxis and alternative taxi services can continue to operate but must limit the number of passengers and adopt improved hygiene measures. 

 

Are trips abroad still allowed? 

Travel advice is the responsibility of the FPS Foreign Affairs. Currently, all non-essential travel abroad is prohibited. See their website for updated travela dvice: 

 

For questions about assistance to Belgians abroad: 02/501.4000 

 

What about car breakdown assistance?

The vehicle breakdown service can remain operational during the week and weekends.

What about cruises?

New cruises organised by boats or ships sailing under the Belgian flag are forbidden.

What about ferries to neighbouring countries?

Unlike boats and cruise ships, ferry trips are not regarded as recreational activities but as a means of transport. Crossing by ferry is therefore not prohibited but, as always, the basic measures relating to hygiene and social distancing continue to apply.

Can I get my driving licence?

Driving lessons and exams are suspended. If, as a result of this suspension, the obligation with mandatory deadlines cannot be met, the person concerned will be granted a deferment.

Is it still possible to use shared cars? However, shared scooters and shared bicycles?

Yes, these are regarded as means of transport and are therefore not prohibited. Gocarts for one or more persons are considered as recreational activities and are therefore prohibited.

Are specific measures applicable to the transport of disabled persons or persons with reduced mobility?

The most important thing is that no new social mixes arise. Transport can therefore continue, but care must be taken as far as possible to maintain the same combination of drivers and PRM. Of course, hygiene and social distancing measures must be observed.

Airport

Are specific measures taken for airports?

For the time being, there are no restrictive measures for airports. Passengers must observe and apply the social distancing measures.

Will the restaurants and tax-free shops remain open?

Yes, the restaurants and shops beyond security control will remain open. This is in order to spread passengers as widely as possible in the airport terminal. The usual hygiene measures must be respected.

International

Are there any travel restrictions?
All non-essential journeys are prohibited.

Measures for festivities and life events 

Should weddings be postponed? 

Civil marriage ceremonies can be celebrated, but not religious ceremonies. Wedding celebrations should be postponed. 

 

How do the new measures apply to burials? 

Burials can be held in an intimate circle. 

 

Are places of worship affected by the measures? 

Yes. Religious ceremonies will not take place in order to prevent the spread of the virus.  However, the premises remain open to individual visitors. 

 

Measures for hospitals 

Are special measures taken in hospitals?     

All planned, non-emergency consultations, tests and operations must be canceled.   

All existing necessary therapies (chemotherapy, dialysis, …) will be continued.    

Patients may be accompanied by only one person.    

 

Are visits allowed in hospitals?    

Only visits by trainees, parents of children in hospital and the immediate family of critically sick patients are allowed. 

 

Measures for Medical care

Who's being tested?

The samples are provided for two categories of people: - All persons whose clinical condition requires hospitalization and whose attending physician suspects Covid-19. - Any health professional who meets the definition of "possible case", and who has a fever.

Detailed information concerning the procedure for general practitioners can be found on the Sciensano website: https://epidemio.wiv-isp.be/ID/Pages/2019-nCoV_procedures.aspx.

Can health workers continue to work when they show symptoms? 

Healthcare workers can continue to work if they show mild symptoms, provided they use a protective mouth mask. In case of fever, ≥ 37.5°C, they cannot continue to work and should stay at home.

Can ambulance workers continue to work if they show symptoms?

Ambulance workers can continue to work if they show mild symptoms, provided they use a protective mouth mask. In case of fever, ≥ 37.5°C, they can no longer work and should stay at home.

Can patients with Covid-19 be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs?

This is currently being investigated. In the meantime, paracetamol is the first choice of treatment for fever and pain.

Can blood donation centres remain open?

Yes, they can. Blood collection should continue, subject to social distancing measures. People who are sick should be excluded as always. 

Are visits allowed in residential care centres or institutions that, for example, care for disabled persons with co-morbidity? 

Essential visits (informal carers, ...) are allowed in order not to completely isolate residents socially.

 

Prisons

Are visits to prisons allowed?

From 14 March to 5 April 2020, all forms of visit are cancelled. This means: visits in the visiting room, visits for children, unsupervised visits (undisturbed visits, family visits) and visits behind glass. People who have to be in prison for professional reasons are still admitted to the prison. These are mainly employees of the police, the security and intelligence services and the judicial authorities, lawyers, magistrates and care and assistance workers.