Belgium allows indoor meals from June 9 as part of easing lockdown
Belgium paved the way for indoor meals and drinks next week, as an acceleration in COVID-19 vaccinations eased pressure on hospitals and allowed restrictions to be eased again.
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo told a press conference on Friday that from June 9, restaurants and bars can stay open until 11:30 p.m. and serve customers in indoor spaces for the first time since the closures at the end of last year.
The Euro 2020 football championship, where Belgium is among the favorites, starts next week, with many matches in the evening.
The measures reflect the success of a vaccination campaign which has so far given a first dose to one in two adults.
Gyms, cinemas and theaters can reopen for the first time in over six months, albeit with strict limits, and Belgians can return to work one day a week and have more people in homes.
De Croo also gave details on how Belgium will handle EU-wide coronavirus certificates to allow travel this summer. Belgium will pay for two of the COVID-19 tests which will be a travel requirement for those who are not fully vaccinated.
Those returning to Belgium from high-risk areas outside the EU will still need to self-quarantine and pass PCR tests, even if they are vaccinated, De Croo said.
The accelerated pace of vaccinations since April has sharply reduced hospital admissions and the number of people requiring intensive care. Yet the death toll in Belgium, home to EU institutions and the NATO military alliance, is nearly 25,000, among the highest in Europe per capita.
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