Report by ICA Ambassador to Belgium 11/30

ICA Ambassador Reports,

Report by ICA Ambassador to Belgium

By Maxim Van Oppens

After a summer with open borders and fewer restrictions on trade, with the approaching cold winds of winter, came a spike in case numbers in Belgium.

The government has decided on a second lockdown starting from Monday, November 2nd till Sunday, December 13th.

Here is the update of the current situation in Belgium:

- All non-essential retailers, including jewellers, have to close their doors. Their clients are only allowed to pick-up pre-ordered goods, not selecting on site. Online business falls under no restrictions. Being physically closed till about one and a half weeks before the crucial Christmas holidays will most likely affect many businesses.

- Wholesalers can remain open, since they fall under the category of ‘stores intended for professionals only’. Their clients can travel to them and operate as before.

- Inside Belgium, wholesalers are allowed to travel to their clients, but only to deliver goods, not to select goods on site.

- For wholesalers travelling to clients outside of Belgium, it is possible, since travelling for work is considered ‘essential’ traveling. A letter of invitation is not needed, yet having written conversation detailing the appointment is recommended. Obviously, this only applies to countries that accept work-related travel within their borders.

- All travellers returning to Belgium after being abroad for more than 48 hours must fill in a ‘passenger locator form’. Based on the information given via this form, it is decided if a test or even quarantine is necessary.

- International Flights are available, but the number is very limited.

It is not expected that the market will turn back to normal within the coming 12 months.

All in all, early adopters can now secure market share of this ‘new normal’ market. Companies that do not adapt their business model will be struggling more than their innovative competition.

Let’s stay safe and take care of each other.