'No signals' that reopening Belgian shops will not happen safely

'No signals' that reopening Belgian shops will not happen safely
Credit: Belga

All Belgian shops will be able to reopen their non-essential shops according to the coronavirus rules on Tuesday, according to the Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities (VVSG).

"We do not have any signals that it is not going to work somewhere. Municipalities have - as they have throughout the crisis - done everything in their power to make this work," VVSG spokesperson Nathalie Debast told the Belga press agency.

From 1 December, all non-essential shops will be allowed to reopen, the Consultative Committee announced on Friday. Municipalities and cities have worked hard to steer this reopening in the right direction, according to her.

The reopening has to happen "responsibly," Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced during Friday's press conference, adding that 'fun-shopping' will not be allowed.

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People have to shop alone and can only stay in a shop for a maximum of 30 minutes. The basic rules about social distancing and hygiene have to be respected at all times.

Additionally, like during the first lockdown in March, cities and municipalities, ill also have to guarantee safety in the shopping streets, together with traders and shopkeepers.

"We have a lot of contacts with the municipalities, and we feel that everyone has been preparing since Friday and getting ready to ensure that those shops can open safely and well," VVSG chair Wim Dries told VRT news on Monday evening.

"They are also looking at how they can place signage, fences and other tools," he said, adding that crowd control is also important.

"It can be done physically, via counting systems, but also with smart cameras or mobile phone tories said. "As you can see, they are looking for ways to measure the crowd, because that is important in order to intervene if things get too busy."

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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