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?
BUT WAIT, one last thing: Want news from The Brussels Times in your inbox every morning? Sign up for The Recap, a free daily newsletter containing all the stories you need to know from the day before. It goes great with your morning coffee.
Belgium in Brief is a free daily roundup of the top stories to get you through your lunch break conversations. To receive it straight to your inbox every day, sign up below:
Ahead of the Consultative Committee, all Flemish universities, their hospitals and medicine departments jointly urged the authorities not to relax the measures too quickly, despite Belgium’s good coronavirus figures. Read more.
Belgian residents who have not yet received an invitation to get vaccinated but want to travel this summer will get two free PCR tests from the government, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo stated in the Chamber on Thursday. Read more.
Brussels’ emergency fire and medical services (SIAMU) has released a statement in regards to a recent report from Unia that accused them of fostering a “xenophobic climate” that “legitimises punishable racist remarks and acts.” Read more.
Relying on social media for information, and in particular YouTube, is one of the factors that tends to turn a person against the vaccination campaigns being carried out across the world, according to research by Oxford and Southampton universities in the UK. Read more.