While face masks are no longer mandatory in Flanders, they will remain so in Brussels. But for the time being are lacking for a legal basis.
Since 1 October, mouth masks are no longer mandatory in Belgium on Fridays. They remain highly recommended if no other half a meter can be kept. Regions that want to be stronger can, for example, if the epidemiological situation so requires.
In Brussels, the mouth mask obligation in the workplace even continues to exist. There is just no legal basis for that. The police decision that is necessary, but a mouth mask in shops, the catering industry, museums and cinemas, but does not say a word about the workplace. A similar police decision for Liège does.
Employer organizations that creates unnecessary problems with complaining. “We have asked the Brussels government several times for an explanation, but we are confronted with radio silence,” says Jan De Brabanter of the Brussels employers’ organization Beci. ‘We expected that with the specific situation in Brussels. But October 1 has passed and we haven’t heard anything.’
According to De Brabanter, the lack of a legal basis puts employers in a difficult position. ‘Suppose Flanders comes to work from Brussels and those in Brussels to wear a mouth mask, what basis do you have as an employer to oblige that? That statement disturbs us.’
Unizo Brussels also expects questions from members to come. ‘We have informed the cabinet of Prime Minister Rudi Vervoort that they have forgotten something,’ says Anton Van Assche. “Obviously they don’t have us up front, because we definitely have results on that.”
Van Assche does qualify that the number of companies affected is limited, because the situation for the shops and the catering industry is clear. ‘Moreover, telework is still possible in Brussels, so not much will change for an employer.’
In a response, the Vervoort cabinet says that the status quo will be maintained. “We are not relaxing and we are not tightening. The rules about keeping a distance, mouth mask obligation and working from home that applied in the Brussels-Capital Region will continue to apply.’