'Absurd': Belgian wedding sector angry over summer rules

'Absurd': Belgian wedding sector angry over summer rules
Credit: Uihere

Belgium's wedding sector is angry that the expansion of the number of people allowed to attend events from 1 July will not apply to weddings.

The National Security Council's decision to only allow reception halls to reopen for a maximum of 50 people from July, while the rest of the hospitality sector can reopen and events can be organised for 200 (indoors) or 400 people (outdoors), caused a lot of anger in the wedding sector.

"The rules are absurd, and consider owners of reception halls inferior," Cynthia De Clercq of HL Belgium, an organisation of providers of matrimonial services, told The Brussels Times.

Entrepreneurs in the marriage sector are angry, as reception halls have the necessary space, and can guarantee safety in accordance with the sector protocol of the hospitality industry, according to DeClerq.

The sector wants to reopen all reception halls from 1 July, when Belgium enters phase 4, under the same guidelines and conditions as cafes, bars and restaurants. "Reception halls are part of the hospitality industry, and should, therefore, be treated the same way as any other hospitality business," she said.

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However, the decision to allow more people at events only counts for "occasional events, organised for the public," Wilmès clarified on Wednesday, adding that a wedding reception is still very different from other events.

"This is our high season, and once again we are depriving suppliers of the chance to limit the damage as much as possible," De Clerq said, adding that the sector will be shut down entirely for five months under the current regulations.

Additionally, the sector wants perspective for dance parties after the summer, as it is "very urgent" to avoid more cancellations in September as well.

Earlier this month, HL Belgium announced that over 95% of summer weddings have already been cancelled since Phase 3 was announced and that they are expecting a lot of bankruptcies.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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