Packs of face mask sold in vending machines in Belgian train stations have drawn criticism after commuters pointed out they were being sold at €15 apiece.
The packs popped up in place of the snacks and beverages usually sold in vending machines which were rebranded with large stickers reading ‘Safety Station’.
The masks’ price has been justified by Selecta, the vending machine company, by the fact that they are high-quality reusable masks which can be used up to 500 times, a spokesperson for SCNB told La Capitale.
A total of 32 machines were filled with face masks as well as disinfecting hand gel in some of the main train stations of Belgium, including Gare du Midi, Gare du Nord and Gare Schuman.
Selecta said they had based their pricing on the cost of similar products sold in pharmacies for the price of €18 and said they were planning to put cheaper masks up for sale too.
“We also want to sell cheaper disposable masks in the coming days but we have not yet received the order,” the company told Bruzz.
As part of Belgium’s strategy to progressively lift the coronavirus lockdown, the use of face masks is mandatory in all means of public transport as of Monday.
As authorities struggle to secure sufficient availability of face masks for citizens, they reversed a ban on the mass-distribution of face masks in supermarkets, who have been allowed to sell the product again since Tuesday.