Starting on February 18 vaccinated visitors won’t need to take a COVID test to visit Belgium
Belgian authorities recently announced that the Covid measures to enter their country will no longer depend on the visitor’s nationality and they removed mandatory covid tests for vaccinated travelers.
Starting on February 18, Belgium’s strict rules will be removed, allowing more tourists to visit the European country. The decision was explained by Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke who emphasized the benefits for main tourists who are not members of the European Union: “This is important for people who come from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan.”
However, non-vaccinated travelers will not be allowed to visit, and those who must travel for special reasons will need to take a Covid test. Visitors who prefer a rapid antigen test will need to take it within 24 hours prior to arrival.
Vaccinated travelers must also provide a vaccination certificate and the first doses should have been received within the past 270 days, no longer than 9 months. For those who already have the booster shot, there is no time limit and are welcome to visit at any time —while the eased measures are active.
The entry criteria will not focus on the nationality or the selected countries previously allowed to enter for tourism as it used to be, they will implement a more simplified and individualistic strategy to evaluate visitors.
Belgium’s Former Color Code System
Before going to Belgium, travelers should read their own countries’ recommendations—like the US Government Belgium Travel Advisory— and understand the Belgian Government’s color codes systems and rules.
Previously, Belgium had a color code system for foreign countries based on epidemiological risk, where green was low risk, orange moderated risk, and red high risk. The United States and Canada were classified in the latter color and travelers from these countries had to show a vaccination certificate, a Covid test and accept the airport authority’s verdict upon arrival.
Now, Belgium will not consider the passenger’s original region color code, but will make an individual consideration with eased rules at the airport.
The Coronavirus Barometer
Restrictions may variate, but these are the main relevant considerations for travelers:
- Code Red: Has the most severe rules. Face masks and covid safety tickets are mandatory for public indoor spaces. Restaurants and bars must respect closing time —usually, before 1 am— and the limit of 6 persons per table. Parties and dance clubs are banned.
- Code Orange: Masks are encouraged when meeting other people in public spaces, but not mandatory for visitors or customers at restaurants or bars, and there is no closing time restriction. There is a capacity limit for large groups and events, but discotheques and nightclubs can open.
- Code Yellow: Masks are only recommended for medically vulnerable people, the covid safe ticket isn’t required and there are no closing times or capacity restrictions.
Today, Belgium is still on code red, but on February 18 the barometer will switch to orange. The great news for travelers is that nightlife will be back very soon and vaccinated tourists will be able to enjoy Brussel’s —or any other city— nightlife and popular daytime activities without all the previous restrictions.
The relaxation of the national covid rules will also open more cultural opportunities and a local boost for productivity and tourism. Travelers who visit Europe can add Belgium to their destinations and take advantage of the ease of restrictions.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com