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    Don’t go to the beach this Easter

    Middelkerke, a Belgian beach resort close to Ostend. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

    As the Easter holiday approaches, and the weather begins to improve, Belgians are being urged to stay away from the coastlines or risk a hefty fine. 

    Despite the fact it is expected to reach 20 degrees this weekend, the message remains clear. Stay at home and help fight the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19).

    This message comes from the Governor of West Flanders, who felt the need to call on people not to travel to the coast without a valid reason, despite the widely publicized travel ban. 

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    “It’s a shame. An Easter holiday with good weather means hundreds of thousands of tourists at the coast. It won’t be happening this year, “said Carl Decaluwé.

    As many resorts are popular for second homes, Decaluwé made a point of drawing attention to the impact on the more vulnerable ageing population of locals, often in areas without the capacity to treat a lot of people. 

    “We will strictly check entry roads. Local and federal police will carry out this task. If anybody gets through, checks on flats are still possible. We also plan checks at supermarkets to see who is shopping. There will be checks at rail stations too.”

    “We’ve heard from hotels that people are trying to book rooms. We’re really happy hoteliers are reporting this. Travelling to the seaside isn’t allowed.

    Violators caught ignoring the measures will receive a €250 on-the-spot fine and will be sent back where they came from. 

    Health Minister Maggie De Block (Open VLD) emphasizes that the corona measures must be observed. “If you don’t do it for yourself, do it for the people you love,” she said, VRT reports.

    The current measures are expected to continue until 19 April. For a recap of what’s required, see here. 

    Jules Johnston
    The Brussels Times