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Additional strictures for the hospitality sector

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On Wednesday, stricter measures were announced for the catering sector in view of the increasing corona infections. On October 8, an even stricter version entered into force for the Brussels Capital Region. Since Friday, October 9, additional restrictions apply to the catering sector in Flanders and Wallonia. The different measures for each of the three regions are explained below.


Flanders and Wallonia

Stricter measures for the cafes

For Flanders and Wallonia, the same rules apply today: in cafés, only 4 people may sit at a table, and they are required to close at 11 pm. However, families of 5 or more may still sit together at one table. Restaurants, on the other hand, can still seat 10 people at one table, and must close at 1 am. The double of 4 therefore does not apply at restaurant tables.


Which business is considered a cafe, and which is considered a restaurant?

The regulations define a restaurant as any business that has obtained an admission 1.1 From the Federal Food Agency (FASFC).

All eateries had to have such permission anyway to be able to open their doors at all before the corona crisis, so in principle restaurant owners do not have to take additional steps to be allowed to stay open. Not only restaurants, but also chip shops, caterers and institutional kitchens need such permission in principle.

Those enterprises that do not have such authorization are considered to be café.


What else was decided?

In addition, only 4 people are allowed to attend private gatherings. However, this restriction does not apply to private parties organized by a professional caterer: in that case, no maximum number of persons applies for the time being. Also at other professionally organized events and get-togethers, the rule of maximum 4 persons would not apply. However, the maximum number of people who can sit at one table, i.e. 10, must be taken into account.

The above restrictions apply for at least one month.


Brussels Capital Region

All pubs and banquet halls must close their doors for a month

The Brussels Regional Government is going a few steps further: all pubs, party halls, coffee houses and other drinking establishments must close their doors. Sports clubs must also close their canteens.

For restaurants, these measures do not apply today: they are allowed to welcome 10 people per table, just as in Flanders and Wallonia, and do not have to close until 1am.


Which business is considered a liquor store, and which is considered a restaurant?

This is not entirely clear today. The Brussels regulations do not distinguish on the basis of an FASFC 'authorisation', but rely on the following definitions:

  • Drinking establishment: place accessible to the public intended for the consumption of alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages on the premises, even if this activity is only incidental. More specifically, this means pubs, bars, taprooms, tearooms, cafeterias and any other place where alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are offered for consumption on the premises.
  • Restaurant: place accessible to the public in main function intended to prepare and/or make available to the public meals to be consumed or taken away on the premises.


We recommend possibly looking at the company's NACE code. Although the law does not consider them to be distinctive criteria, they can provide some clarity:

  • If one falls under the nacebel codes 56101/56102 then one is most likely a restaurant.
  • If one falls under the nacebel code 56301 then one is most likely a cafe.


When in doubt or with questions, be sure to contact the sector federation.


What else was decided?

In addition to the above restrictions on pubs and other drinking establishments:

  • Is it forbidden to consume food in the markets;
  • Is it forbidden to consume alcohol in the entire Capital Region;
  • Amateur sports clubs may not allow lower audiences into covered areas;
  • Night stores and gaming halls must still close at 10 p.m.


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