Abolish face masks in bars and restaurants, Flemish hospitality sector says
Wednesday, 15 September 2021
The Flemish hospitality industry is asking the authorities to lift the obligation to wear a face mask in bars and restaurants, ahead of the Consultative Committee meeting on Friday.
While the main focus of Friday’s meeting is expected to be on the wider use of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) in the country, Matthias De Caluwe of Horeca Vlaanderen is asking to relax the rules for the hospitality industry.
“We are asking for the abolition of the face mask obligation for staff, and for clients when they move around in the establishment, such as to go to the toilet,” he told Het Laatste Nieuws.
The current rules state that hospitality staff have to wear a mask all the time, and clients can only take it off when they are seated at the table.
“Now, it is a bit strange that you can go dancing with each other at a wedding party, but then you have to take out your masks if you go to the toilet,” De Caluwe said, adding that the nightlife sector is also hoping to get the final go-ahead to reopen.
“We will propose to work using the protocol for the events sector,” De Caluwe explained. “That is to say, a Covid Safe Ticket (CST) for events with over 500 attendees, as long as that regulation applies for events too.”
“They are the same type of events, whether you are in a large venue or a nightclub,” he added.
As far as the use of the CST for bars and restaurants in Flanders goes, De Caluwe stressed that there is absolutely no need for it in the region, due to the high vaccination rate. “On 1 October, we propose starting without CST in bars and restaurants, and of course a close monitoring of the situation.”
“It goes without saying that Covid has taught us that you can never make longer-term predictions,” De Caluwe said. “But the vaccination threshold has been reached, let us just continue in the way that we have been doing over the past month.”