Coronavirus: Belgium to allow people to invite four friends or family over as lockdown eases

People queue to enter a supermarket in Brussels, Begium (Picture: Getty)

Belgium will allow people to invite four friends or family members to their homes as it continues to ease coronavirus lockdown restrictions

Prime minister Sophie Wilmes announced on Wednesday that families would be permitted to host up to four people from Sunday (Mother’s Day).

She said the four guests always had to be the same and they had to maintain social distancing. 

Ideally, this would be outside, such as in a garden or on a terrace, she added.

Wilmes said: “I recognise this does not replace the pleasure of being able to embrace someone you love, but we cannot do more for the time being.”

The country has one of the highest coronavirus death rates in the world.

Read more: Dutch restaurant trials glass cabins for diners to keep distance after lockdown

Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes (Picture: Getty)

On Monday, all stores will be able to open, although they will have to limit the number of shoppers inside and make changes to protect staff. 

Shoppers are strongly encouraged but not obliged to wear masks.

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Markets, cafes, restaurants, sports, cultural centres and tourist sites will remain closed. 

Sports competitions will not restart before August. 

Wilmes added: “Monitoring these rules is very complicated, but we are counting on your civic-mindedness and sense of responsibility.”

Read more: The high-profile names who have been accused of breaching lockdown rules

Belgians are slowly getting back to normal life. (Getty)

The country of 11.5 million people began easing lockdown restrictions at the start of this week, allowing businesses that do not have contact with consumers to restart.

It is among the European nations worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with 50,781 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 8,339 deaths. 

However, rates of new cases, hospital admissions and deaths have fallen steadily from early April peaks.

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