COVID-19 Information for International Congresses
We’ve missed you!
While the world is going through difficult times because of the outbreak of the coronavirus, the same goes for Flanders. On this page we inform you about the current situation.
- It is possible to travel to Belgium from the countries of the EU, the Schengen Area and the United Kingdom, with the exception of the areas designated as red zones. diplomatie.belgium.be/en.
All persons travelling to Belgium have to fill in and submit a Public Health Passenger Locator, within 48 hours before arrival in Belgium to PLFBelgium@health.fgov.be. The Form is available here: travel.info-coronavirus.be/.
Non-essential travel is strongly discouraged. Border controls will be organised to check if the Passenger Locator Form is filled out for those who plan to stay longer than 48 hours in Belgium.
- Events and conferences are not allowed until further notice.
- All types of accommodation are open (including hotels, apart-hotels, gîtes, B&Bs) with the exception of their restaurant, drinking establishments and other communal facilities (e.g. shared bathroom, pool and fitness room).
- Holiday parks, bungalow parks and campsites are closed, with the exception of holiday residences, bungalows, chalets and camping equipment intended for use by the owner and/or his household, or by a household which has its habitual residence there and solely for this purpose.
- All leisure activities, such as cinemas, casinos, amusement parks and zoos are closed.
Museums and swimming pools are open, with the exception of subtropical holiday parks.
- As from December 1st, all shops reopen, but fun-shopping is not allowed.
Only individual shopping (unless for those who cannot do this independently), for a maximum of 30 min per store.
Below you will find useful information and links to assist you in planning your future conference in Flanders, once it is allowed again.
If you have any questions or need further information, don’t hesitate to contact us.
We hope to welcome you soon, with twice the heart, love and hospitality.
Planning your event
Meeting Venues: controlled environments
The Guidebook Corona-prevention (free download) provides meeting and conference locations in Flanders with information and tips on how to safely organise events, with the health of participants and employees in mind. It helps meeting locations to prepare for a smooth, safe reopening of the location after the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of 8 September 2020, larger events and congresses can be organised again in Flanders. This is possible in safe conditions thanks to the introduction of the COVID Infrastructure Risk Model (CIRM).
The CIRM has been developed for stadiums, sports halls, theatres, concert halls, event halls and conference locations, to allow these venues to screen their venue for the COVID-19 security risks on the basis of a number of security parameters.
The CIRM relies (partly) on the same set of parameters as the COVID Event Risk Model (CERM), but focuses on how the venue lends itself to the COVID-safe organization of events.
In order to avoid further spread or new flare-ups of the virus as much as possible, the tourism professionals in Flanders have taken all necessary health measures and developed protocols for safe operations.
Advance reservations are essential. Hygiene regulations are being strictly applied and disinfection gels are available. Social distancing at 1,5 meters and the wearing of face mask is required.
For more detailed information, contact your accommodation directly.
Risk analysis: CERM
To assist you in organising your conference/event in the most optimal health safety conditions in Flanders (Belgium), you can use the COVID Event Risk Model (CERM), consisting of the COVID Event Scan and the COVID Event Protocol. These tools are available free of charge for any organiser at www.covideventriskmodel.be.
The COVID Event Scan maps out safety risks, by means of a simple questionnaire, based on 20 parameters that are known to reduce, or just the opposite, increase the spread of the coronavirus.
The COVID Event Protocol is a guide for all event organisers active in the public, for-profit and non-profit sectors, for all types of events, regardless of the type or size of the event. As an organiser, you can assess whether it is possible to organise an event in accordance with the health safety measures, laid out by the Belgian government.
Loan for organisers of events & congresses
Covid-19 creates a lot of uncertainty for Associations and Conference Organisers.
The Flemish Government has therefore decided to offer the possibility of a reimbursable loan for organisers of events, congresses, meetings, etc. for new events in the fall of 2020 and in 2021.
The obligation to refund the loan lapses if the event is cancelled due to government measures related to COVID-19. The business risk is not covered: even if the event was loss-making, the support must be repaid.
Full details can be found here.
Coming to Flanders
Be safe in Flanders
Face masks or a scarf covering the mouth and nose is mandatory at bus/tram stops, in train stations and on board the vehicles of Belgian Public Transportation, for travellers aged 12 and older.
Here is more information about trams and busses and trains in Belgium.
YouFlanders is a mobile application that gives an overall view of the Flemish tourist offer. The app contains a pressure barometer in which visitors and tourist operators indicate how busy it is in a tourist operation. The app also indicates in a simple way which COVID-19 measures are applicable, both in general and for a specific tourist offer.
Information about the cities and regions
Our cities and regions implement the measures of the Belgian National Security Council rigorously to contain the further spread of the coronavirus and protect risk groups. You can find the latest information about each city and region, as well as contact details of their MICE team here.
Congress Delegates communication
We advise you to keep a close eye on your own state of health and to remain alert to the 6 golden rules recommended by the Belgian government.
• Follow on-site instructions regarding applicable safety precautions or personnel instructions;
• Social distancing: always keep a distance of 1,5 meters from others, also in queues;
• Always carry a mouth mask with you, to cover your mouth and nose where social distancing is difficult to apply;
• No physical contact: do not shake hands, avoid direct physical contact and avoid touching objects, devices or surfaces with a risk of contamination as much as possible;
• Hand hygiene: wash your hands regularly with soap and water, especially after touching objects, appliances or surfaces with a risk of contamination;
• Cough hygiene: if you cough or sneeze, do it safely in a disposable tissue or in your elbow;
Find here more information on restaurants, guided tours and cultural events.
We’ll take good care of you
Flanders offers some of the highest-quality health care services in the world. The national health care system provides benefits for hospital, medical, pharmaceutical, some allied services and ambulance during your stay.
The Belgian State health care system provides in free emergency care for visiting EU citizens, under the same terms as locals, using the European Health Insurance Card, EHIC (formerly E111).
Non EU citizens need a private health insurance to be able to recuperate possible costs. For tourists it is part of their travel insurance. A private health insurance is also necessary for EU citizens who want to cover non-emergency care plus (like repatriation etc.).
What to do when you get ill?
If you have any of the following symptoms (cough, respiratory problems, fever, aches and pains, fatigue, loss of smell or taste, diarrhoea), please follow these steps:
• Stay at the accommodation / holiday residence / hotel … (even if your symptoms are mild).
• Inform the owner/manager who will call a general practitioner (GP) and report your symptoms.
• Don't go to the GP or to a hospital accident & emergency unit on your own initiative.
• The GP will tell you by phone what to do. E.g. to go to your GP practice or a triage centre for a test.
• Make a list of all the people you came in close contact with.
• Did you test positive? A government employee will call you to start the contact tracing.
If the GP suspects that you have COVID-19, they will test you or refer you to the local triage centre. The test will be sent to the lab for analysis that same day.
Stay at the accommodation / holiday residence / hotel … as long as you haven’t received the test results. In the meantime, your GP will ask you to make a list of all the people you came into contact with up to two days before your symptoms began. This list will only be used if your test is positive, as part of the contact follow-up.
You will always receive your test results, regardless of whether the outcome is positive or negative. Did you test positive? Your health condition will be closely monitored, and you will be prescribed the necessary treatment. The contact centre will take the necessary steps to inform the people close to you and your contacts that they may have been exposed to a COVID-19 carrier.
In order to avoid COVID-19 once again spreading throughout the population, we are performing contact tracing.
If somebody falls ill due to the virus that causes COVID-19, we ask that sick person for the names of people he has been in contact with. It is, after all, possible that those people are infected with the virus.
We then phone or visit those contacts. We provide advice on what they should do to prevent them from infecting other people in their immediate vicinity. The more infections we can avoid in this way, the better.