The National Security Council meets again today to discuss the further relaxation of corona measures. In principle, phase 2 of the exit strategy will enter into force on Monday 18 May. What will a decision be made about later?
It is almost certain that contact professions such as hairdressers and beauticians can restart on May 18. The National Security Council will probably announce what measures they should take to avoid new infections with the corona virus. For example, hairdressers and hairdressers will have to wear a mouth mask and a plexi screen will possibly have to be provided. The same goes for beauticians. The reopening of hairdressing salons is very welcome for many people with a so-called corona section. They must take into account that many hairdressers already have reservations.
Good news will probably also come for small-scale open-air markets. They will be allowed to continue from May 18. Of course, that too will only be allowed under strict conditions. Just like in the shopping streets since this week, here too we will work with a system of arrows that leads people in the same direction. Together with cities and municipalities, the maximum number of stalls is being examined so that sufficient distance is left. Major annual markets are unlikely to get the green light yet.
Museums, zoos and amusement parks
Museums and zoos are also allowed to prepare to reopen Monday, May 18. There will be a strict restriction on the number of admitted visitors so that social distancing remains possible. You will probably have to reserve your ticket in advance. Unauthorized museums and experience centers may have to wait longer to open again. The same goes for amusement parks. They will remain closed until June 8.
There is also a chance that the National Security Council will publish new relaxations on sports. At the moment you can do sports with a maximum of two others in open air where there is no contact. Sports competitions are then prohibited until July 31. Last week, Flemish Minister of Sport Ben Weyts (N-VA) sat together with the sector, experts and his colleagues to see which step-by-step plan can be followed between now and 31 July.
Group sports may soon be re-permitted in the open air for anyone under the age of 12. For those who are older, look out for when the limit of the number of people allowed to train together increases. There is a chance that, for example, cycling tourists may start riding in a larger group again from Monday. Indoor sports probably have to wait a little longer. However, the demand from fitness centers and climbing halls to reopen under conditions is getting louder and louder.
Day trips and stays
The coastal municipalities also hope for news from the National Security Council. They sat together last week to discuss how they see the restart of coastal tourism. There it was decided to give priority to second-stayers and only then allow tourists and day-trippers. There is less clarity about when that will be allowed back. Tourist excursions, like the amusement parks, seem to have to wait until June 8.
Social contacts and catering
The great relaxation of the previous National Security Council came in the area of social contacts. Since last Sunday it is allowed to contact four others according to certain rules. Experts agree that that measure is not without risks. So no further relaxation is expected in this area.
For the catering industry, perhaps the most severely affected sector in the corona crisis, nothing will change on Monday 18 May. There is a chance that they will get some perspective about the future after the National Security Council. Relaxations have already been announced about this abroad. Restaurants and café terraces may open again on 8 June under strict conditions.