Some of you may be aware that the Consultative Committee met this morning and have since announced further restrictions due to the increase in COVID infections across Belgium.  Information relating to what the increased measures are can be found here.  Due to the increased restrictions and the heightened risks I have decided it would be sensible to delay the children’s Christmas party.  We thought about a number of COVID counter-measures to mitigate the risks, but we might have had up to 70 people in a single room.  I did not want to impose mask wearing for the children, or overly restrict play in order to meet expected Host Nation requirements.  Given the impact of just a few cases in school recently, I also did not think it was appropriate to just push on as I’m sure we don’t want to risk a single case affecting a potentially large number of other people in the run up to Christmas.  I realise there will be disappointment but I hope everyone can understand the reasoning. 

A number of larger official events have already been cancelled across SHAPE though and more will undoubtedly be reviewed after the decisions made today, so we’re not acting alone in taking this decision.  Belgium clearly needs to bring down rates and we must support that effort, so please do make sure you follow the news as measures are made public, and abide by SHAPE and Host Nation guidelines to reduce the risk of catching or spreading COVID. 

I have asked the Community Hub team to actively look at just what can be achieved in the lead up to Christmas that will meet all the guidelines, and they are now working hard to put a plan together.  At such short notice volunteers to assist will be key so please let the CLOs know if you can spare some free time in the coming weeks, more to follow but Christmas is not cancelled.

Please don’t hesitate to ask for advice from the network and UK support team – it’s there to help.”