No closure, but shopping by appointment for Belgian retailers

The Belgian government has announced stricter lockdown measures to bring the rising corona virus figures back down. For non-essential shops, shopping by appointment will apply from Saturday.


During four weeks

No general store closure, but stricter rules during four weeks: that is the compromise that the Belgian government reached after a meeting of the consultation committee on Wednesday morning. From now on, shopping has to be done by appointment, just like in the Netherlands at the moment. In big stores like Ikea a maximum of 50 people can enter at the same time. Mayors must ensure that not too many people are present in the shopping streets at the same time.

Non-medical contact professions - including hairdressers - must close again, even though the Prime Minister had said at the end of January: "If we reopen hairdressing salons, it will be for good."


No sources of contamination

Trade federation Comeos has always stressed that shops are not hotbeds of infection. Moreover, after the second lockdown in November, there was a lot of criticism following the statement by Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke that the closure of the non-essential shops was meant to create a 'shock effect'.

The federation of fashion retailers had also called for the shops to remain open. A closure during the Easter holidays, which are crucial for spring turnover, would reduce the turnover of the spring-summer season by 40 percent. This could cause a wave of bankruptcies: reserves are depleted and many fashion retailers still have to pay the invoices for the summer collections delivered.