Belgium lifts travel ban to non-EU countries and face mask obligation on public transport
Authorities decided to deactivate Belgium’s coronavirus barometer from Monday 23 May, meaning the face mask obligation on public transport and the ban on non-essential travel to non-European countries end this Sunday.
The Consultative Committee including Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke and the Minister-President of each region announced it on a press release on Friday.
Since all coronavirus indicators improved, the obligation to wear a face mask will be lifted everywhere – except in hospitals, doctor’s offices and pharmacies.
“This means people will no longer have to wear a face mask in public transport,” said De Croo.
This also means that passengers will be able to use the front doors to get on De Lijn’s buses again, as the plastic separation between the driver and the passengers will be removed from next week, the company announced.
Still, wearing a mask remains recommended in very busy places and in healthcare environments such as residential care centres or when going to the dentist, physiotherapist, psychologist or even speech therapist.
Proper ventilation of indoor spaces also remains highly recommended as it is a strong defence against virus transmission and is generally good for wellbeing, health and productivity.
The ban on non-essential travel from outside the European Union will also be lifted, as will the obligation to get tested on days 1 and 7 upon return to Belgium. The 10-day quarantine, the requirement to present a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) and a valid vaccination, recovery or test certificate will also be gone.
“However, this does not apply to travellers coming from a country with a new variant of concern. For them, the current rules continue to apply,” De Croo said.
© BELGA PHOTO (NICOLAS MAETERLINCK) Vice-prime minister and Public Health and Social Affairs minister Frank Vandenbroucke at a press conference after a meeting of the consultative committee