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Belgium in Brief: One Last Round?

Credit: Belga/Walter Derieuw

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?

Let @johnstonjules know. Or @maithechini, since she wrote it today.

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1. What’s on the agenda of the Consultative Committee today?

Belgium’s Consultative Committee will meet this afternoon to address the planned upcoming relaxations and look into a clear regulation for travel this summer. Read more.

2. ‘Facing a risky descent’: Belgium urged not to relax measures too quickly

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.

3. Belgium offers travellers who have not been vaccinated yet 2 free PCR tests

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.

4. ‘Deliberate, targeted and permanent damage campaign’: Brussels firefighters react to allegations of racism

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.

5. All vaccination invitations will be sent out next week in Wallonia

All invitations for the vaccination of people over 18 will have been sent out early next week in Wallonia, regional health minister Christie Morreale said on LN24 on Friday morning. Read more.

6. Research: Watching YouTube can turn you against vaccination

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.

7. Missing persons: Belgium cannot join Interpol DNA database

Interpol, the international police organisation, is this month launching a new DNA database to aid in identifying missing persons’ remains wherever they may be found. Read more.

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