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    Coronavirus: What else has closed?

    Credit: Pexels

    In an effort to help keep track of what’s open (and what isn’t), here are some of the bigger announcements of events, activities and stores that have closed as a result of action against the spread of new coronavirus (Covid-19).

    This is not an extensive list, but a resource to help you keep track of what you can’t do. For the previous edition click here

    Exki

    The Belgian coffee shop Exki has decided to completely close its 107 global restaurants, including take-out service, confirmed the general manager in charge of marketing, David Esseryk.

    “The restaurants had already closed, only a dozen take-out services were kept,” said Esseryck. “We must take care of our employees, that is the priority. Everyone must be able to stay at home.”

    Workers will be placed on temporary unemployment, he said.

    Church ceremonies 

    The Catholic Church in Belgium has decided to ban religious baptisms and marriages, even in small groups, in order to contain the coronavirus pandemic. Only private funerals are now possible.

    “The civil authorities have taken more restrictive measures against Covid 19,” the bishops’ conference of the Catholic Church said in a statement Monday.

    This announcement joins a mass of other events, activities and pastimes that have been cancelled since all events, indoors and outdoors, no matter the number of attendants, have been cancelled by the government to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

    Playparks 

    After the initial confusion about the closing of outdoor playgrounds as a measure to contain the spread of the new coronavirus (Covid-19) last week, the Crisis Centre told all cities and municipalities to close them.

    All playgrounds, both indoors and outdoors, in Belgium have to be closed. The decision was part of the measures taken by the National Security Council on Thursday, but due to a miscommunication, outdoor playgrounds remained open over the weekend in many places.

    On the official website of the federal government concerning the coronavirus, the Dutch-language version only stated that indoor playgrounds must be closed, while the Francophone version stated a ban on ‘plaines de jeux intérieures et extérieures’ (indoor and outdoor playgrounds).

    Decathlon

    Decathlon has decided to close all of its stores on Monday due to the coronavirus, confirmed the spokesperson for the sporting goods brand, Thomas Lejeune.

    “We made this decision for the health of our employees and our customers,” he said. “We don’t want the virus to spread through our stores.”

    The measure is valid until April 3. Online orders are maintained.

    The National Security Council decided on Thursday evening that all stores selling non-essential items should close over the weekend. Decathlon, therefore, took the lead in deciding to also close during the week.

    Ready-to-wear chain JBC announced a similar decision earlier on Monday.

    Bombardier

    The rail vehicles production company in Bruges announced that it would stop all activities from Tuesday 17 March. The company’s 430 employees will be put on temporary economic unemployment, according to the trade union ACVV/FGTB.

    The industrial activities, as well as the repairs in the depots, will be stopped for an indefinite period of time to prevent the coronavirus from spreading among the employees.

    “For the work we do here, our employees have to be in close contact, and that is too great a risk,” said Freddy Bakker of the union to Het Laatste Nieuws. Employees whose job allows them to telework, can continue to do so.

    Proximus

    Telecommunications company Proximus decided to close 100 of its stores “until further notice” during weekdays too, and to limit its interventions with customers, due to the coronavirus.

    Proximus will also only send its employees to customers for repairs, and urgent activations. Customer service will continue to be available via the website, chat and call centres.

    Jules Johnston and Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times