While the focus of today’s Consultative Committee will be on setting clear travel rules for everyone wanting to leave or (re-)enter Belgium, the closing hour for the hospitality sector will also be on the table.
Based on previous announcements, the terraces of bars and restaurants will be allowed to stay open until 11:30 PM, but their indoor areas will have to shut at 10:00 PM from next Wednesday.
According to Flemish Work Minister Hilde Crevits, these different hours will create a “bizarre” situation in which people having a meal indoors will suddenly have to move outside, where most tables will already be taken by people having drinks.
Along with Crevits, more and more people are calling on the government to bring the different times in line and allow everything to stay open until 11:30 PM, but it’s not certain the Consultative Committee will go for that.
In practice, this means that Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and the other members of the Committee will be deciding how your (and my) last round of drinks will go from next week.
Will you be ordering a final glass of wine while enjoying dessert in a quiet corner of your favourite restaurant at 9:30 PM? Or maybe try a new beer on a terrace at 11:00 PM?
And what will happen with the football matches of the European Championship? Will you watch the first half over dinner indoors, then move to the terrace for the second half?
What about when the winner has to be decided by penalties? In that case, the game will definitely not be over by 11:30 PM, and fans won’t be inclined to leave in the middle of the edge-of-their-seats moments.
I know I won’t.
What do you think? Are the different closing hours a smart idea? Where will you be watching the Championship? And who’s your favourite Red Devil?
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