From Saturday, wearing a face mask will be mandatory on the seafront along the entire Belgian coast, acting provincial governor of West-Flanders Anne Martens announced on Friday.
With this measure, she wants uniformity, in order to avoid the chaos of having different rules in neighbouring municipalities.
After Belgium's National Security Council left the decision to make face masks mandatory in public places in the hands of local authorities, several coastal mayors immediately announced masks would become an obligation, while others stuck to "strongly recommended."
Not all mayors intended to require masks on the seafront, "but above all, I want clarity and uniformity," Martens told De Krant van West-Vlaanderen.
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"This morning there was a meeting with all the coastal mayors," said Martens. "Only Middelkerke (of which Jean-Marie Dedecker, who is against the measure, is the mayor) was not present. However, we did make the decision, because all the other coastal mayors were unanimous in favour of a uniform decision," she added.
Specifically, the measure concerns the entire seafront, as well as the beach entrances. In the municipality of Bredene, for example, there is no seafront, but anyone who wants to go to the beach there must wear a mask.
In several other coastal cities and towns, such as Ostend and De Haan, wearing a mask is also compulsory in busy shopping streets and markets. In towns such as Kortrijk and Knokke-Heist, wearing a mask is mandatory on the entire territory.
The provincial decree is still being prepared and will be in force from Saturday.
The Brussels Times