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Walloon cafes back down from plan to open early

© Belga

Members of “Wallonie Horeca,” have announced that they will no longer break with Belgium’s rules and open their terraces on 1 May, the association’s representative said on Sunday.

The group had announced that it wanted to open its terraces early in protest against the measures imposed to curb the spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). The Consultative Committee decided to set Saturday 8 May as the date for the reopening.

“1 May was mainly a symbolic action,” Valérie Migliore said. “We had many restaurant owners who were ready to do it, but it must be accepted that the Government brought out the heavy artillery.”

“We were told to express our anger or feed our families. At a given moment, you don’t feel like being crucified on the public square. Has the movement run out of steam? Naturally.”

Migliore still plans to open on 1 May, but only to offer take-away services.

The association’s decision was welcomed by the minister in charge of independents, David Clarinval. “I did not appreciate certain mayors and governors telling the restaurateurs to go ahead,” he said. “You don’t help independents by encouraging then to practice civil disobedience.”

“Yes, there are seven days between the 1st and the 8th. That’s seven days too many. But that’s the compromise we worked out after hours of discussion in the Government and the Consultative Committee,” Minister Clarinval added. “We succeeded in obtaining the reopening on 8 May, all the same, and we took out 900 million euros in support of the hospitality sector.”

The Brussels Times