Belgium's Consultation Committee made up of the federal government and the governments of the federated entities decided on Friday to abolish, effective from Oct 1, the requirement to wear face masks in several places, including dining venues and shops.
The decision was taken in light of the recent vaccination figures published by the Sciensano public health institute, which showed that 71.94 per cent of the population, or over 8.2 million people, had already been fully vaccinated.
However, wearing a mask remains compulsory in healthcare centres, at airports, and in major events attended by more than 500 people.
The vaccination figures vary from one region to another. In regions where the vaccination rate is low (below 50 percent), such as in the capital Brussels, the authorities may choose to delay the implementation of certain relaxation measures, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said.
"We're approaching the autumn season. More than ever, it is important to ensure adequate ventilation and also vaccination," he said.
To date, Belgium has recorded 1,217,473 COVID-19 cases and 25,494 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to the Sciensano institute.