How the catering industry will reopen indoors from June 9

The protocol for reopening cafes, hotels and restaurants is largely known. On the menu: compulsory CO2 detector, four people per table and… nothing on the plexiglass walls.

Ct is a document that cafes, hotels and restaurants are eagerly awaiting. Baptized Safe catering, the sector protocol detailing the conditions for reopening indoor establishments from Wednesday 9 June is about to be released. The evening was able to first consult a very advanced draft of these 48 pages, the fruit of consultation between the three catering federations (Flanders, Brussels, Wallonia), the Corona police station and the cabinets of federal ministers David Clarinval (Independent , PME) and Pierre-Yves Dermagne (Economy and Employment). The latter two have yet to endorse this long technical text, the overwhelming majority of which are no longer open to discussion. The ministerial decree of Annelies Verlinden, reflecting the decisions of the Consultative Committee of May 11, including the green light for the reopening of the hospitality industry, will also have to enter into force. This decree is still suspended on an opinion of the Council of State which could fall this Friday, allowing a validation of the judgment as of this weekend and an online publication of the final horeca protocol from Monday.

What does this document say, which will mark the return of consumers to dining rooms, hotels and cafes? It repeats more or less the “terraces” protocol, as well as the hospitality protocol of the first deconfinement. But with some notable differences, starting with the obligation for establishments to have CE marked air quality (CO2) detectors. These devices “must be installed in a way that is clearly visible to the visitor”, imposes the protocol which sets a target standard of 900 ppm of CO2. Below this threshold, the level is qualified as “acceptable” (900 to 600 ppm) or “healthy” (600 to 350). Above and just below 1,200 ppm, the hospitality operator must take “compensatory ventilation or air purification measures”. The first step will be to open doors and windows. But if the level of CO2 were to reach and exceed 1,200 ppm, a level considered “unacceptable”, the establishment will have to close immediately. It will be understood: the aim is to protect consumers and staff from possible transmission of covid by aerosols.

Sitting in limited numbers

Another key point: just like outside, the tables (therefore the sets formed by a table and chairs) must be spaced at least 1.5 m apart. The text does not mention the use of protective walls as was the case during the first deconfinement of the sector. The tables must be devoid of any accessories (no salt and pepper shakers in particular) and be well cleaned (with replacement of the tablecloth) between two services. Around a table, only a maximum of four people will be allowed, unless the guests are members of the same household. These customers will have to remain seated at the table. This is where staff with CE surgical masks will come to take their order. There will be no question of going to the bar or the counter for a drink, even in cafes. Customers will only be able to move inside with a mask to go to the bathroom or pay the bill. Note also that buffets remain prohibited until further notice.

As a reminder, customers will only be able to consume indoors between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. But the terraces may remain open until 11:30 p.m. In addition, indoors, they must respect a maximum sound level of 80 dB. Finally, hospitality operators are strongly advised to operate by reservation and to replace the menus with a board hung on the wall or with a map accessible via smartphone. In addition, customers will be asked to pay preferably electronically and, of course, to respect the barrier gestures and health instructions well known for more than a year now.


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