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Brussels extends night-time alcohol ban in city centre

Place de Brouckère, the northerly end of the pedestrian zone. © Jules Johnston, The Brussels Times

The current ban on drinking alcohol in public, in force in the pedestrian zone in Brussels city centre, will be extended to other neighbouring areas, and last for a year, Brussels-City mayor Philippe Close has announced.

The ban was introduced after multiple complaints from local residents as well as visitors to the zone, especially after dark. The ban does not affect the sale of alcohol in shops, or the consumption of alcohol on cafe terraces.

The area covered by the ban will now be extended, Close said, essentially covering the streets between Boulevard Anspach and the canal, from the Sainctelette bridge to Sainte-Catherine. On the Boulevard itself, the ban extends to Place Fontainas.

The exact area to be covered had still to be laid out in a police directive.

The other side of Boulevard Anspach, the historic centre including the Grand Place, is not included in the ban, which comes into force on 5 October. It does however include Rue du Midi, Rue des Fripiers and Place de la Monnaie.

Technically, anyone caught drinking on the street in the area affected is liable to a fine of €350. However in June Bruzz reported that despite having been in force since February, not a single fine had been imposed. The reason given was that the arrival of the coronavirus had made enforcing the drinking ban a low priority.

Although the extension will operate for a year, Close stressed that he does not wish it to become permanent.

I hope this decree will not become the norm in the long term because I can understand that you want to have a drink in a park, but right now that is no longer possible. The balance has been upset. The nuisance linked to the consumption of alcohol in these two neighbourhoods has become unbearable for the residents,” he said.

The ban is in force from midnight to 06.00.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times