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Police will fine businesses that open their terraces early

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Liege police have been instructed to issue fines to any hospitality establishments that open their terraces prematurely on 1 May, as well as customers who do not respect the bubble rules.

If officers notice an infringement, they will be required to fine the offenders and inform the public prosecutor, Public Prosecutor Philippe Dulieu told all the police chiefs in the province of Liege on Tuesday.

“Only the public prosecutor has the power to decided on a case, which means that if we find any offences within the framework of the Covid, we must issue a fine,” explained Alain Lambert, head of the Basse-Meuse area.

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As for the evacuation of the terraces, this is a matter of public order, and therefore requires the authorisation of the mayor. This leaves the police officer in the field responsible for judging if it is appropriate to close a terrace, with the approval of the magistrate on duty.

“We will see on a case-by-case basis,” concludes Lambert.

Belgium is expected to reopen terraces on 8 May, providing the situation in the country remains stable enough to do so. The Consultative Committee will meet on Friday to discuss measures, including how the new rules will work in practice.

The Brussels Times