The Belgian government decided Friday to ease coronavirus restrictions beginning Feb. 18. 

Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said at a news conference that a special committee in charge of COVID-19 measures decided to relax restrictions because the epidemiological situation improved,

He said the country’s coronavirus barometer indicating the gravity of the health crisis will go from code red to orange after hospital admissions and the ICU occupancy rate have fallen.

De Croo warned that the pandemic is still not over but promised that “a better spring is coming” with more freedom and joy.

Under the new rules, teleworking will not be mandatory anymore four days per week but the government still highly recommends that companies allow employees to work from home in professions that do not require physical presence.

Children under the age of 12 will no longer be obliged to wear face masks in school or public venues.

Bars and restaurants will be able to stay open as late as they want, while the number of people at a table will not be maximized anymore and guests will be allowed to once again drink next to the bar.

Nightclubs and discos can reopen with limitations on the number of guests and concerts can be organized where the audience stands.

But the government still insists on the mandatory use of a COVID pass to enter restaurants and cultural venues until the barometer dips to yellow.

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