Widespread police checks of Covid Safe Ticket 'unrealistic'

Widespread police checks of Covid Safe Ticket 'unrealistic'
Credit: Belga

A day before the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) becomes mandatory in all hospitality businesses and fitness centres throughout the country, Belgium’s Interior Minister, Annelies Verlinden, has said that police will carry out checks but not to a large extent.

The CST resembles the European covid certificate and shows if a person has been fully vaccinated, had a negative PCR test in the last 48 hours or has a recovery certificate up to 180 days old. It can be downloaded at the covidsafe site.

From Monday it will be needed to enter all bars, restaurants and gyms across the country, which brings Flanders and Wallonia in line with the Brussels-Capital Region. It will also be required at events with 50 people or more inside and 200 or more outside, and to enter trade fairs, conferences, hospitals and care homes.

Fines of up to €500 could be given to customers who break the rules, and organisers and venues who do not check the pass are liable to fines of up to €2,500 in addition to possible administrative sanctions.

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The CST is required for all those aged 16 and over; those aged between 12 and 16 will need a CST to visit someone who is hospitalised or living in a care home.

Speaking to la Dernière Heure, Verlinden said that “one had to be realistic” on how much police can be expected to do in ensuring that establishments and customers comply with the rules.

“First of all, we count on the owners and managers in the hospitality industry to uphold the rules. I have seen the reports that some do not. It is important that they do,” the Minister said, adding that as well as police, “the economic inspectorate will also carry out checks."

She admitted that the police force "already has a lot on their plate". "At the height of the lockdowns, it was almost all they did. Today, there are also other events [to deal with], football matches, concerts… It’s up to the police and local authorities to judge whether the checks are needed. But they will not massively control the CST usage, it would be unrealistic.”

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