Brussels ends face masks obligation outdoors

Brussels, Jun 9 (EFE).- Belgium moved closer to normality on Wednesday by lifting the obligation to wear face masks in Brussels, as well as allowing bars and restaurants to serve indoors and extend opening hours.

Workers will be allowed back at the office once a week, and vaccinated residents will be able to travel with fewer restrictions.

Starting Wednesday, Belgian restaurants and cafes will also serve customers indoors, limited to outdoor terraces since May 8 after a months-long shutdown, and with opening times between 5 am to 11.30 pm.

The good news brought Bart, a musician and customer of a well-known Belgian cafe, to have his breakfast indoors and ignore the nice weather outside.

“I missed it. It’s a charming bar, I used to come here before work,” said Bart.

“It has been a long time so I decided to come inside to feel like in the old times,” he added.

Gyms can also reopen their doors, albeit with reduced capacity and locker rooms and showers off limits.

“We will enjoy the moment and hope Covid becomes a thing of the past,” said Federic Dése, manager of the B2M Sport gym, which was able to stay in business because it also offers rehabilitation and physical therapy services.

Movie theatres, bowling alleys, flea markets and saunas are also free to reopen, under the obligation of ensuring certain ventilation conditions.

Shows, exhibitions and sporting events will be allowed up to 200 attendants inside, with a seated audience, or 400 people if outside, with 1.5 meters distance and mandatory face masks.

Fully vaccinated travelers will not require a negative Covid-19 result if they have been immunized two weeks prior to their journey, nor will they have to quarantaine when returning from red areas.

A 10-day quarantaine will continue to be mandatory for passengers coming from high-risk countries where new Covid-19 variants run rampant.

Children and adults who have still not been offered vaccination will be reimbursed PCR testing costs, with a 55 euros limit.

More than 53% of adults in Belgium, 4.8 million people, have received at least a first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. EFE


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