No legal basis for COVID-19 measures since committee relaxes Federal emergency phase: Experts

In the Brussels-Capital Region, there is no legal basis for the current COVID-19 measures since the Consultative Committee has relaxed the Federal emergency phase on March 11, Friday, according to the Brussels Health Minister named Alain Maron on Wednesday, March 23.

The Brussels Health Minister mentioned in the Health Committee of the Brussels Parliament the federal phase of the pandemic management was at first intended to remain in place until the end of April month, but the authorities ended it at the beginning of March 11.

He mentioned in the statement, “I myself was not in favour of this, but that is what the Consultative Committee decided. As a result, there is currently no legal basis in Brussels for preventive measures in the fight against the pandemic.”

Along with this, Flanders does not have the same problem, as the 2003 Flemish epidemic decree allows sanitary measures, such as compulsory facial masks in public transport, to be taken by simple ministerial decree.

Currently, Maron wants to quickly observe an ordinance approved which will give the Brussels Government broader powers to implement rules to defeat variant of the COVID-19 infection, including lockdowns, social distancing rules, a face mask obligation, or the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) in the hospitality industry or cultural venue.

Right now, there is no intention actually to implement any of those rules and regulations, but only to give the measure that has been declared by the Consultative Committee a legal basis. “It concerns only two measures: the face mask obligation in public transport and hospitals.”

Moreover, the opposition is now asking for more time to study the text, as they mentioned that this text is not just a planned technical adjustment but “a Brussels mini-pandemic law”.

The Brussels MP for N-VA, Gilles Verstraten, mentioned in a statement, ”We are being asked to give the government permission in two days to reduce fundamental rights drastically. That is not possible.”

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