In the late hours of Sunday evening, the latest Ministerial Decree containing measures to combat the coronavirus was published in the Official Gazette. The MB puts the finishing touches to what was decided last Friday at the Interfederal Consultative Committee, and some details already stand out.
Below is a brief overview of the main measures.
Hospitality industry: complete closure but...
Restaurants, cafes, nightclubs and other drinking establishments must close their doors for a period of four weeks. However, there are three exceptions to this full closure requirement:
- Establishments belonging to the hospitality sector and other food and beverage outlets may offer take-away until 10 p.m. at the latest. Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden has since clarified that alcohol may also be sold until 8 pm. The general ban on alcohol sales therefore only applies from 8 pm onwards.
- Restaurants in hotels may remain open to the extent that they serve only hotel guests (serving alcohol allowed until 8 p.m.).
- Large kitchens in schools and workplaces may also remain open.
So for restaurants and cafes, it may be worth considering whether a possible takeaway service is one of the possibilities, to the extent that they were not already doing so at the time of the lockdown in March. Cafés, for example, can transform themselves into a take-away coffee shop. If one provides take-away options, it is appropriate that the take-away price be closely aligned with the usual prices. After all, take-away also leads to unforeseen costs such as packaging costs. And above all, low profit margins create sales, but not profits.
Receptions: prohibited, except...
Private meetings, receptions and banquets are prohibited, even when provided by a professional caterer or organizer, except in the following cases:
- The reception is held in conjunction with a funeral. (Max. 40 people).
- The seated reception is organized by a hotel for the staying guests.
Wellness centers & pools: restrictions
Wellness centers and pools may remain open, but jacuzzis, steam rooms, and hammams should be closed unless they can be used privately.
Night stores: deviant alcohol prohibition
Night stores are allowed to stay open until 10 pm. However, they may not offer alcoholic beverages from 8pm onwards. Not even in vending machines.
Betting offices and casinos: flexible regime
Slot machine halls, betting shops and casinos may remain open until 23:30 and, subject to different regulations issued by the municipality, welcome 40 visitors at a time. However, offering drinks or food is not permitted.
Events can still go on for 200 people inside and 400 people outside. However, offering and consuming food and beverages on site is no longer possible.
Registration requirement for foreign workers
Employers from the construction, cleaning, meat and horticulture sectors who use foreign workers (self-employed or employees) still have to keep the identity data of these workers for two weeks after the end of the employment.
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