Wednesday, 14 October 2020
The municipality of Vilvoorde will go into “partial lockdown” if Belgium’s promised coronavirus barometer is not ready by Friday, mayor Hans Bonte announced on Wednesday.
The partial lockdown, as he suggested, should not only be introduced in Vilvoorde, but in the entire so-called Brussels periphery, meaning all 19 municipalities bordering the Brussels-Capital Region.
“We will only introduce these measures if it turns out that the federal barometer will not be launched, or is delayed,” Bonte told Le Soir. “Without decisive measures, the health sector will be blocked and schools will close down completely.”
In practice, Bonte wants to move the education sector in his municipality into code orange, meaning fewer pupils will have to attend class on-site, and shut down the hospitality industry, or at least bring the closing time forward.
Additionally, fitness centre should be closed, and outdoor sports should only be allowed individually or in bubbles. Going shopping would only be allowed with a maximum of two people, and markets would only be allowed to sell food.
The rising trend in the number of Covid-19 infections in the municipalities surrounding Brussels remains worrying, as eight of them are among Flanders’ ten most affected municipalities, according to Sciensano’s dashboard.
Currently, Vilvoorde recorded 835 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants over the past 14 days. Border-municipality Machelen recorded 1,243 cases/100,000 over the same period.
“We naturally hope that this barometer will bring clarity and lead to simple, transparent and logical rules,” Bonte said. “But if it is not ready by the end of this week, our stricter measurements will start at the beginning of next week.”
Additionally, for each of the measures, Bonte would like the Flemish government to provide sufficient bonuses or compensation measures for the affected sectors.
The Brussels Times