The Federal Government in Belgium has finally agreed on a “ventilation plan” for all places open to the public, such as bars, restaurants, cinemas, theatres and gyms, reports The Brussels Times.
According to the English language online edition of The Brussels Times, the new plan follows months of ‘crisis management’ in the region – and details were announced by Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke.
The Belgian Government says that one of the main lessons of the pandemic – the importance of healthy indoor air – should be carried into the future, not only in the fight against Covid-19, but also to avoid other respiratory diseases such as the flu.
“I am very happy that the Government has found an agreement for a legal framework that will require all publicly accessible places to continue to monitor their air quality,” Mr Vandenbroucke told news outlet De Morgen. “They must all have a CO2 meter.”
Visibility of CO2 meters
CO2 meters will need to be clearly visible to the public and may not be placed in the immediate vicinity of a door or window Mr Vandenbroucke announced in a press release on Monday.
Every manager of a public place will also be asked to carry out a risk analysis, listing all factors that influence air quality, such as an inventory of the ventilation and air purification systems present, as well as the number of CO2 measurements taken over time.
Action places for managers
According to the report in The Belgium Times, building / general managers will be required to draw up an action plan if issues with ventilation are identified.
What’s more, two (non-compulsory) target values were also established:
- Level A: a CO2 concentration lower than 900 ppm (parts per million). Ventilation and/or air purification must therefore be provided at a rate of at least 40 m³ per hour per person.
- Level B: a CO2 concentration lower than 1,200 ppm or a ventilation flow of at least 25 m³ per hour per person.
Managers in the hospitality industry, cultural, sports and nightlife sectors will have 12 months to make sure they comply with the rules (which are expected to be law this Spring).
From 2025, building managers will also be required to inform visitors about their air quality, through an indoor air quality label. The certifying officer will take into account the presence of ventilation or air purification systems, the number of people admitted, but also the actions taken by the manager, among other things.
The Belgian Government will be able to view these labels in a central database – which will be extremely valuable in the event of a possible new pandemic. If this happens, the Government can take targeted measures tailored to different public areas.
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