Belgium will be reopening their nightclubs and bars as normal as the country enters "code orange" as of today.
At midnight on Thursday night, Belgium eased several COVID restrictions that has been put in place to stop the spread of the Omicron variant.
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Restaurants and bars can open all day and children under 12 are no longer required to wear masks. Under "code red", there were curfews in place for hospitality venues and nightlife was put on a halt.
However, “if the indoor air quality limit of 1500 ppm cannot be met, a distance of 1.5 metres between tables must be provided or other measures taken so that the limit can be met from the next service"- says Interior Affairs Minister Annelies Verlinden's cabinet in a press statement, according to Brussels Times.
“When there is a lot of movement (such as dancing), and the indoor air quality target of 900 ppm CO2 cannot be met, the number of customers received inside should be limited to 70% of the maximum capacity.”
COVID infections fell by 44% in the week ending February 4, compared to the previous week.
Initially, there was confusion as to when the new measures and reopening schedule would actually be put into place as Verlinden’s cabinet said it would take place “over the course of the day on Friday” instead of immediately at midnight.
Following that statement, bar owners in the Overpoort student neighbourhood in Ghent threatened to remain open past their midnight closing time.
After evaluation, officials confirmed that all restrictions would be gone on midnight on Thursday night.
Last week, clubs in Brussels said that they would not listen to government restrictions and open on February 18 regardless of what the rules were, as they believed they were being treated unfairly.
“We cooperated: first for two weeks, then for a few months and finally we closed for two years, but enough is enough,” Lorenzo Serra of the Brussels By Night Federation, which represents nightclubs in the city told Bruzz.
Aneesa Ahmed is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter