Who says first day of the month, says new rules. From September 1, new measures come into force in Belgium, in various sectors.
Coronavirus: the summer plan will enter its 4th phase, except in Brussels
The fourth phase of the summer plan for the relaxation of health measures will be launched from September 1, the consultation committee decided on August 20. This new step will not however benefit entirely in Brussels where a large part of the measures in force this summer will be maintained, in particular in the hotel and catering industry, due to the too low rate of vaccination. This means, for the country, that restrictions on receiving people at home or in tourist accommodation will be lifted. The restrictions in the opening hours of Horeca establishments, the number of people at the table, the terraces, the noise level and the service at the bar or standing places will also be lifted. However, the obligation to wear a mask when traveling is maintained. In Brussels, on the other hand, the relaxations concerning the catering and night shops will not come into force and establishments will always have to close at 1:00 am at the latest.
Nightclubs will have to wait until October 1 before reopening their doors on the basis of ventilation protocols. The federated entities may decide to be stricter in the terms.
Restrictions will also be lifted for activities organized by a club or association as well as for buffets. We can dance again at private parties, such as weddings.
The restrictions in the exercise of worship, in civil marriages, funerals, etc. will also be lifted, except in Brussels. Wearing a mask will remain compulsory.
Restrictions on events with fewer than 200 indoor spectators and fewer than 400 outdoor spectators will also be lifted, unless local authorities decide otherwise.
The Covid Safe Ticket can be used for events bringing together more than 200 indoor spectators and more than 400 outdoor spectators, which will make it possible to cancel the obligations relating to masks and social distancing. From October 1, the end of restrictions will apply to events with 500 indoor and 750 outdoor spectators.
From September 1, wearing a mask will no longer be compulsory in spaces accessible to the public of companies, public authorities or associations, as well as in the cultural, festive, sporting, recreational and event sector for events and private parties. bringing together less than 200 people inside and 400 people outside, unless the municipality decides otherwise.
Reduction of the TEC rate for 18-24 year olds from September 1
The TEC fare will be reduced by an additional 35% for 18-24 year olds from September 1, which is part of the desire of the Walloon majority to gradually implement free public transport for young people aged 18 to 24. years but also for people 65 and over and for vulnerable groups. In this context, a first reduction in prices took place on September 1, 2020: subscriptions for 18-24 year olds were reduced by 35%, while beneficiaries of BIM status were entitled to the application of the reduced rate for families. numerous’ for all subscriptions.
Up to 20 psychological consultations may be reimbursed
From September 1, everyone will be able to benefit from an affordable psychological consultation, at a rate of 11 euros per session, up to 20 sessions per year. An agreement to this effect has been reached between the National Institute for Sickness and Invalidity Insurance (Inami), the FPS Public Health and the Mental Health sector. An individual psychological consultation will cost 11 euros (4 euros for beneficiaries of the increased intervention). It will cost 2.5 euros for a group session. These prices will apply to a maximum of 20 sessions per year.
The reform distinguishes, on the one hand, primary psychological care (short term) and, on the other hand, specialized psychological care (longer term). In the first case, patients followed within the framework of the ‘adult’ network (from the age of 15) may be reimbursed for an annual maximum of eight individual sessions or five group therapies. For patients followed within the framework of the ‘children and adolescents’ network (up to 23 years inclusive), it will be ten or eight sessions respectively. Regarding specialized psychological care, both children and adults are entitled to a maximum of 20 reimbursed individual sessions. For group sessions, the agreement provides for a maximum of 12 reimbursements for adults and 15 for children.
“An important element of this reform is that the age categories overlap to guarantee an offer best suited to 15-23 year olds, who can thus choose their care network (young or adult) according to the nature of their needs”, argues Inami, which stresses that the objective of the reform is to “be able to detect and take care of suffering patients as quickly as possible”.
The list of goods that can be purchased with eco-vouchers is growing
From September 1, consumers will be able to use eco-vouchers to buy lighting products as well as class E televisions and screens, according to a new opinion issued by the National Labor Council (CNT) of which Belga obtained a copy.
Since last March, eco-vouchers can be used to buy electrical appliances with the new European energy label. It is thus possible to buy washing machines or dryers (with an A label), dishwashers (with an A, B and C label), refrigerators, freezers and electronic screens (with an A label, B, C and D). From September 1, it will also be possible to buy light sources (lamps, bulbs) with the new energy label (classes A, B, C, D), as well as televisions and screens with eco-vouchers. class E. The CNT has also extended until February 28, 2023 the possibility of purchasing with eco-vouchers the light sources placed on the market before September 1, 2021 and which still have the old label with the energy label European class A + or A ++ (highest energy class for light sources in the old scale).
A new energy label for lighting products
Lighting products will be affixed, from September 1, a new energy label responding to more stringent environmental conditions.
The old energy performance scale was starting to show its limits, with the highest class (A +++) almost becoming a standard. With this new label, more severe, the “+” signs disappear. The new label has seven performance classes, from A to G (from most to least energy efficient). Since spring 2021, the European Union has been working to update the labeling of various household appliance products, including refrigerators, freezers, washing machines, dishwashers, televisions and electronic screens.
Property law reform enters into force
The reform of “property law”, approved by the Chamber in February 2020, will come into force on September 1. Concretely, this new book (book III) is included in the new civil code and notably provides a new legal framework for disputes between neighbors. It also deals with issues such as usufruct, emphyteusis, building rights or even the right of the “honest finder”. The stated objective is to reduce the number of disputes to be dealt with by the justices of the peace.
For example, the citizen hampered by branches protruding from his neighbor’s garden will now be able to prune them himself. He must first make the request to his neighbor. If the latter refuses to take action within 60 days, then he can do it himself. If an object or animal has inadvertently landed on a neighboring property, the owner must return it or allow the owner of that object or animal to remove it. Finally, a walker will be authorized to circulate on private property if the prohibition to be there is not clearly displayed. The new Property Code also defines more clearly the concept of property (objects, buildings and furniture, etc.). It also considers animals as beings and no longer objects. “They are gifted with sensitivity and have biological needs,” says the new code, which also reforms property rights. It also establishes a right of the “honest finder”. “Imagine finding an abandoned bicycle. Does it belong to you? So far, the answer to this question depends on where you find it: on private or public domain. The new property law has developed only one regulation because it is irrelevant to consider where you find the bike “, had detailed the former Minister of Justice Koen Geens.
The installation of charging stations becomes more tax-efficient
The installation of charging stations will be more advantageous for both individuals and businesses from September 1. The new regulation on this taxation has not yet been approved by Parliament but will then be applied retroactively. According to Federal Minister of Finance Vincent Van Peteghem (CD&V), the granting of the tax advantage should help accelerate the growth of the charging infrastructure for electric cars in Belgium.
People who install a home charging station will be able to benefit from a 45% tax reduction from September 1. The measure applies to both owners and tenants. The amount for which a tax reduction can be granted is limited to 1,500 euros per charging station and per taxpayer. The terminal must also be “smart” and use green energy.
The tax advantage for individuals will be gradually reduced, in order to encourage them to invest quickly. The rate will drop to 30% from January 1, 2023 and to 15% a year later.
Businesses can also get tax relief for investments in charging infrastructure. A deduction percentage of 200% will apply between September 1, 2021 and December 31, 2022, and 150% between January 1, 2023 and August 31, 2024. The terminal must be accessible to other users during part of the the day.