The National Security Council (NSC), extended with the ministers-president had a meeting today, Wednesday 13 May. On the basis of the GEES experts’ report, the NSC decided to start phase 2 of the phase-out plan as from 18 May.

This phase is mainly about the gradual restarting of teaching for certain pupils in primary and secondary schools, under strict organisational conditions. Kindergartens will remain closed at this stage and higher education has already organised the end of the academic year together with the Communities’ authorities.

A second aspect in this phase is culture. The NSC has decided that museums and cultural sights – historic buildings and monuments, castles, citadels – can be reopened as from 18 May, provided they set up an online or telephone ticketing system and take the necessary measures to avoid drawing crowds. Libraries can remain open, under the same conditions as now.

As far as the economic activities are concerned: it has been decided that contact professions can resume their activities at this stage, subject to certain conditions. For example, they must work by appointment, wear a face mask or mouth-nose protection (staff and customers) and respect the safety distance between customers. In addition, markets may start up again, in consultation with local authorities. These markets may have a maximum of 50 stalls, a circulation plan must be drawn up and safety distances must always be respected. Wearing a mask or mouth-nose cover is mandatory for market stall operators and their staff and is also highly recommended for customers.

Finally, a number of other decisions have been taken with regard to sports and leisure. Natural tourist sites, such as zoos, will also be allowed to reopen, provided that they introduce an online or telephone ticketing system to restrict public access, draw up a circulation plan and that cafeterias and restaurants remain closed, as well as any rides and playgrounds. Regular outdoor and club sports trainings and lessons may be resumed if they respect the safety distance and if a coach is present. Groups may not exceed 20 persons and sports clubs are only allowed to re-open provided all measures are taken to ensure the safety of athletes. As far as marriages and funerals are concerned, a maximum of 30 people may attend ceremonies from 18 May, under certain conditions, including respect for the safety distance. However, organising a reception after the ceremony is not allowed.

There will be no next steps in the phasing-out plan before 8 June. And after phase 3, more phases will follow. There are many activities starting up again, which has an impact on the number of contacts between people. The idea is for people to gradually resume their habits over time, in order to be able to do so as safely as possible.

The detailed phasing-out plan as it relates to sports and culture will be communicated as soon as it is agreed with the GEES. The same applies to the gradual resumption of tourist activities and the reopening of restaurants, terraces and cafés.

We will also have to examine in what phase and subject to which conditions we can expand social contacts, allow summer internships and youth camps to take place, allow religious services to resume, and hold indoor and outdoor events of various sizes.

We can already tell you that all cultural, sporting, tourist and recreational events are prohibited until 30 June.