About a month ago, Belgium went into phase four of the country’s exit from lockdown. Since then, the numbers of cases have been slowly rising again. So it’s no surprise that phase five of the exit has been cancelled and various restrictions have been tightened.
Face masks were already mandatory in shops and now they will also be required in more places, including busy shopping streets and markets. I have already been trying to get into the habit of always having a mask when I go out, so this should become a case of ‘when in doubt, wear a mask.’
The other big change, as far as we are concerned, is that we are going to have to provide either an email address or phone number when we next go to a restaurant. A form should be available from tomorrow, and the information will have to be destroyed after 14 days but I am wondering whether I should start trying to remember to have a pen with me for future excursions.
The contact bubble remains at 15 people, and night shops will have to close by 10:00pm. Bars and restaurants can still stay open longer though. And mayors will have more powers to take additional measures in the case of local outbreaks.
The only other change is that there are additional restrictions and possible quarantine for people traveling abroad. This doesn’t have a huge impact for us as we’d already written off this summer as far as holidays were concerned, but I’m glad we managed to visit Apenheul at the start of this month.
While it’s a bit of a blow, none of this was unexpected and the restrictions could have been much worse. Time to hunker down a bit, I think, and hope that this second wave washes away reasonable quickly.
I don’t think I’ll be seeing the inside of the office before next year, though.