The Consultation Committee will meet again on Friday to make decisions. The assembled governments of the country will have to decide if the shops remain closed and will consider what Christmas should look like. But really loosening the reins is not there. “The pressure on hospitals remains enormous”, the government says. “Don’t expect a big good news show.”
May the stores reopen? That is the central question on Friday’s Consultation Committee. At the announcement of the second lockdown, a month ago, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Open VLD) already announced that there would be an evaluation of the closure of the non-essential stores by December 1.
The question arises explicitly today. In the Netherlands, Germany and Luxembourg, all stores remained open during their stricter measures. French President Emmanuel Macron is almost certain to announce that retailers in France can get back to work, according to French media. All trade federations in our country are therefore begging to be allowed to open the doors again.
Politics is not over yet. There is a group of ministers and parties who look to the neighboring countries and, on the other hand, there is a group – including Minister of Health Frank Vandenbroucke (SP.A) – that is strict. They warn of a yo-yo effect, in which relaxation and intertwining occur in rapid succession.
Strict conditions could be a possible compromise. Shops open, but by appointment, for example.
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The Consultation Committee will almost certainly announce one extension of the other measures On. In principle, these are still in effect until mid-December, but all models and forecasts show that the corona figures will still be relatively high. It will probably take at least until past New Year before we reach a safe haven somewhere. “We are still only at the start of the marathon,” De Croo said recently.
This also means that the Consultation Committee will consider the Christmas period. MR Chairman Georges-Louis Bouchez recently advocated a little relaxation at Christmas, “if the numbers allow it”. Minister of the Interior Annelies Verlinden (CD&V) thinks that more than one person can visit, for example if it happens outside around a fire pit.
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The fear of the care staff is that such gatherings could lead to a Christmas wave. “Hospitals are still very full,” says a government source. “The numbers are not there to promise a carefree Christmas. But we’ll talk about it. If only to stop the release of all those balloons. ”
Finally, it cannot be ruled out that the Consultation Committee still wants to offer a perspective somewhere. A target, after which some relaxation is possible. Friday will probably be too early for the new incarnation of the coronabarometer.