Corona virus in Belgium
On the occasion of the meeting of the National Security Council and the Minister-Presidents on 27 March 2020 with the aim of preventing further spread of the COVID-19 virus, the measures taken previously were extended until 19 April 2020, with a possible further extension until 3 May 2020.
During this period, the following measures shall remain in force:
1. Citizens are required to stay at home to avoid contact outside their family as much as possible:
- Except to go to work.
- Except for essential travel (to the doctor, food shops, post office, bank, pharmacy, to refuel or to help people in need).
- Outdoor exercise is allowed and even recommended. You can exercise together with family members living under the same roof and together with one friend. Trips with family members living under the same roof are allowed. It is important to keep a reasonable distance.
- Larger gatherings of people are not allowed.
2. Companies – irrespective of their size – are obliged to organise working from home for every position where this is possible, without exception.
- If this is not possible for certain employees, social distancing will be strictly respected. This rule applies both to the performance of work and to transport organised by the employer. If companies cannot meet these obligations, they must shut down.
- If the authorities find that the social distancing measures are not being complied with, first a heavy fine will be imposed on the company; in the event of non-compliance after the fine has been imposed, the company will have to shut down.
- These provisions do not apply to key industries and essential services. However, they will have to ensure that the social distancing rules are respected as much as possible.
3. Non-essential shops and retail outlets will remain closed, with the exception of food shops, pharmacies, pet food shops and newsagents.
- In addition, access to supermarkets will be regulated, with the number of customers being limited (1 person per 10m² and a maximum presence of 30 minutes).
- Bars are obliged to put their terrace furniture inside.
- Night shops are allowed to remain open until 10 PM and must comply with the social distancing instructions.
- Regarding hairdressers, one client at a time is admitted per hairdresser’s salon.
4. Public transport should be organised in such a way as to ensure social distancing.
5. Non-essential travel outside Belgium is prohibited.
6. Outdoor markets are shut down. Food stalls are only allowed in areas where they are indispensable.
7. Horeca and leisure activities will be closed during the whole week.
In addition to these measures, regional or local authorities may have taken stricter preventive measures (following the example of the municipality Knokke-Heist).
These measures have a significant impact on your business, from an operational, logistic and HR point of view.
Existing B2B contracts may also be impacted.
In the following contributions, we elaborate on these issues: