January 23, 2022

theaters closed in Belgium from Sunday, in anticipation of a rebound in the Covid-19 epidemic

“We must be more careful than ever at a time when there are many uncertainties,” said the Belgian Prime Minister to explain the new restrictions, presented as “precautionary measures”.

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The country is trying to stem the spread of the Omicron variant and the increase in the number of Covid-19 cases. Cinemas and other theaters will be closed in Belgium from Sunday December 26, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced on Wednesday 22 during a press conference. Cafés and restaurants, which also feared additional restrictions, can remain open until 11 p.m. during the holiday season, as has been the case since the beginning of December.

From Sunday also, shopping will only be possible for two people maximum (not counting the children of the household). Sports competitions will take place without an audience, including outdoors, and “all mass events inside are prohibited”, except weddings and funerals. This ban concerns indoor Christmas markets. “Teleworking remains compulsory with a maximum of one return day [au bureau] per week”, specifies a press release released after a meeting of the consultation committee, bringing together the heads of the executives of the regions and communities.

The Prime Minister did not rule out that there could be additional restrictions by January if it is proven that contamination by the Omicron variant is causing a rebound in hospitalizations. Because if the daily average of new infections has been divided by two in three weeks (to 8,300 Wednesday), Omicron is causing concern. This very contagious variant, which already accounts for 27% of contaminations in Belgium, should be dominant there in the coming days, according to the authorities. “You have to be more careful than ever in a time when there are a lot of uncertainties”, said Alexander De Croo to explain the new restrictions, presented as “precautionary measures”, the situation in the remaining hospitals “very tense”.