Coronavirus: Belgian resort town makes beach registrations mandatory

Coronavirus: Belgian resort town makes beach registrations mandatory
© Belga

Only 15,000 people will be admitted to the beaches of Ostend from this week after the city made registrations mandatory in a bid to prevent crowding as the weather warms up in Belgium.

From Thursday, 6 August to Sunday, 9 August, anyone wishing to go for a dip in three of the resort city's beaches will have to register with city authorities.

Registrations are necessary for those wanting to plop down on Klein Strand, Groeistrand and Groot Strand, but access to the city's seven other beaches remain open without registration.

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Registrations are free and can be done in the local tourist office, online or by calling the number 0800 62 167.

The decision comes after a technical failure on the rail at the weekend packed the train station of Ostend with flustered day-trippers looking to escape the heat at the weekend, which reached 36ºC on Friday.

Thousands were stranded in the station, prompting local authorities to lash out at rail operator SCNB for boosting service to the coast while failing to implement a better system to control passenger flows.

With a new heatwave looming over Belgium again this week, the incident prompted concerns that overcrowding at the beach would thwart any attempt to stick to social-distancing.

"Wednesday, there will be a new heatwave and we expect a lot of people to come to the coast again," Mayor Bart Tommelein told Le Soir. "As long as there is no solution, I don't want any additional trains to Ostend."

"The SCNB must come up with a solution itself but I am certainly willing to cooperate," he added.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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