One of Belgium's last traditional lambic breweries and gueuze blenders has announced that it will not reopen its bar and shop to the public on 8 May, as it fears the relaxations may have come too soon.
Located in the village of Beersel in the Zenne Valley, the family-owned Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen has a strong following both inside and outside of Belgium. Under the new changes to Belgium's coronavirus fighting measures, the lambik-O-droom bar and shop could partially reopen from Saturday, but won't.
"We would love nothing more than to welcome people to our place again, but right now this doesn't feel right," Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen explained. "When we open up, we want to be able to do so on our terms and conditions and way of working, in order to offer every visitor the best experience. And to stay open for a long period, not for a few weeks."
As it stands, the number of coronavirus patients in intensive care units has continued to drop in Belgium, according to the latest official figures published by the Sciensano public health institute on Wednesday.
A "significant improvement" of the situation in hospitals was originally one of the requirements, alongside seven out of ten people over 65 years old having received their first vaccine dose, for the reopening of terraces.
To the brewery, however, it's not enough.
"As far as we are concerned, the decrease in the number of infections, hospital admissions and deaths is not yet visible enough," the brewery explained. "Moreover, the mass vaccinations are still not happening. All of this leads us to conclude that there remains a real risk of a relapse."
"We, therefore, think that the relaxed measures - however much we understand them - come too soon. We want to take responsibility and consider all factors and be part of the solution rather than being an accelerator of the problem," the brewery added.
Across Belgium, bars, cafes and restaurants are setting up to reopen their terraces after six months of closure. Businesses will be able to reopen terraces between 8:00 AM and 10:00 PM, and up to four customers can be served per table (exceptions will be made for households).