Belgium to allow restaurants, cafes to serve outdoors from May 8

Published April 14, 2021, 11:15 PM

by Agence-France-Presse

Belgium will allow restaurants, cafes and bars to reopen outdoor eating and drinking areas on May 8, a government source told AFP on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Alexander De Croo was to give further details in a press conference later in the day after a meeting with federal and regional officials.

Several other decisions were to be announced later and Belgian media reported that a nighttime curfew and a blanket travel ban could also be lifted.

The decision to ease curbs comes against the backdrop of a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic in Belgium. 

Infections have dropped slightly over the past three weeks but there was still a daily average of 3,452 over the past week.

That was well below the peak of 15,000 daily cases recorded in October just before the closure of bars, cafes and the curfew was ordered.

The number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care has been rising since mid-February and now stands at 945, and there has been a daily average of 43.4 deaths over the past week.

Vaccinations have accelerated in the country since the end of March, with 1.9 million people — out of a population of 11.5 million — having received at least a first dose.