Which coronavirus measures apply in the workplace as of 1 October 2021?
With the autumn and winter seasons approaching, it is still important that the necessary preventative measures be taken to avoid the spread of the coronavirus. What measures are in force as of 1 October?
Until further notice, the generic guide remains the standard for safety in the workplace. We list the updated rules below for face masks and ventilation.
Where and when should your staff wear a face mask?
The golden rule for companies and businesses is to maintain social distancing at all times (1.5 metres). To prevent high-risk contact(s) and clusters in companies, face masks are strongly recommended as an additional measure in situations where organisational measures and collective protective equipment do not provide sufficient protection. To this end, also complying with other preventative measures and respect for the prevention hierarchy is still required.
From 1 October onwards, the wearing of a face mask will remain compulsory for persons aged 13 and over in the following circumstances:
- inside public transport, railway stations, and airports.
- inside organised collective transport.
- the places where contact professions are at work:
- service providers and customers must wear a face mask in the event of direct physical contact.
- service providers and customers must wear a face mask when a safe distance of 1.5 m cannot be guaranteed in the event of contact for at least 15 minutes.
- at indoor events, cultural and other performances, sports competitions and training sessions, and congresses with more than 500 people.
These requirements apply to the whole country (the so-called 'federal basis'). Regional governments may impose stricter requirements should the epidemiological situation require it.
Companies and administrations in the Brussels area are expressly asked to keep teleworking as a norm because the vaccination rate is too low.
What about ventilation in the workplace?
Ventilation in the workplace continues to be important. Ensure there is a sufficient supply of fresh air in rooms where staff sit together. What about buildings or rooms that do not have a ventilation system? Then it is best to open as many windows and doors as possible. Always take security and fire safety into account.
The hospitality sector (including dance halls), sports centres (including fitness centres), and the facilities of the events sector (including discotheques and dance halls) must always have an air quality meter present. The meter must be clearly visible to visitors, unless an alternative system for measuring air quality is provided where the results of the measurements are publicly accessible. As an operator, you must have an action plan drawn up based on a risk analysis in the event the maximum values are exceeded.
The expectation is that the transition period will take at least three months.