The Brussels municipality of Molenbeek will tighten its coronavirus measures following a strong increase in infections over the past two weeks, mayor Catherine Moureaux announced.
As Belgium and the Brussels-Capital has relaxed the general coronavirus measures, several municipalities have decided to take stricter measures themselves.
In the space of two weeks, 550 new infections were recorded in Molenbeek, putting the municipality in the third place of most cases in Belgium.
The infections can usually be brought back to the family atmosphere, such as birthday parties and family visits, according to Moureaux, which is why the measures mainly concern those situations.
At tables in restaurants, cafés and cultural events, visitors are only allowed to sit at a table with five people instead of ten.
At weddings, only the couple, their parents and witnesses may be present.
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Gatherings with family members after funerals are only allowed to be held in large rooms of the municipality, which have to be booked in advance. "Houses and flats in Molenbeek are often very small, and if large families come together there to mourn, the risk of infection is much higher," Moureaux said.
For sports activities, training sessions and matches that take place indoors can no longer be held with an audience. The changing rooms will also remain closed, except for sports clubs that have to come from more than 10 kilometres outside Molenbeek. For outdoor sports activities, the measures will not be tightened.
The new measures will be distributed via flyers in several languages in the letterboxes of the people of Molenbeek.
On top of that, Molenbeek wants to put a lot of effort into raising awareness, which is why they will hold round-table discussions with youth where they can communicate their needs.
"After three weeks, we want to evaluate these stricter measures, and hopefully our figures will be better by then," said Moureaux.
The Brussels Times