In Belgium, one of the countries with the highest number of Covid deaths in Europe compared to the population, epidemic measures that have been strictly implemented for months have been relaxed as of today.
A curfew in Belgium, which came into force on October 19th and is enforced daily from 22:00 to 05:00, has also been ended.
As part of the government’s gradual relaxation decision, cafes and restaurants that have been serving only takeaways for about 7 months began serving their customers in the open-air sections from Saturday morning.
There will be a minimum distance of 1.5 meters between the tables where up to 4 members of the same family are allowed to sit together. Customers will only be able to enter closed sections provided that they use the toilet and pay the bill.
Customers and employees will be required to wear masks. Outdoor sections of cafes and restaurants will remain open from 08:00 in the morning until 10:00 p.m.
Within the scope of coronavirus measures, the ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages after 20:00 has also been relaxed. Liquor kiosks and grocery stores will be able to sell drinks until 10 p.m.
As part of the relaxation, the number of social contacts limited to 1 person outdoors was increased to 3.
From today, up to 50 spectators will be allowed at outdoor cultural events.
Religious worship can also be performed in bulk, provided that up to 50 people participate and the social distancing rule is observed.
Amusement parks and old markets were also allowed to reopen.
Several Belgians took to the streets after the curfew, which has been in place for nearly seven months, ended at 5 am on Saturday and opened the open-air sections of cafes from 8 am.
Despite the rainy weather, the terraces of cafes and restaurants in the capital Brussels and other cities were flooded with customers. Many Belgians said they felt like it was a holiday because of the permission to go out again after 7 months and sit in cafes.
Jan Jambon, prime minister of the Flemish Region, where most of Belgium’s population lives, said the country could return to normal life from October 1st if all goes well.
More than 1 million people have tested positive for coronavirus so far in Belgium, which has a population of about 11 million. According to public health and infection experts, the actual figure is over 3 million.
In Belgium, 24,483 people have died due to Covid since the outbreak began. Thanks to the strict measures implemented, the average number of cases per day has fallen to around 3,000.