The Brussels government will order 3 million face masks to provide all people in the region with at least two masks.
“We are ordering 3 million masks,” Zeynep Balci, a spokesperson for Rudi Vervoort, the Minister-President of the Brussels Region, told The Brussels Times. “We want to provide everyone with masks, including children under 12 years old, and people in precarious situations, such as undocumented people, homeless people and transmigrants,” she added.
More clarity regarding the supplier of the masks will follow after Belgium’s National Security Council on Wednesday, as Brussels will also hold a Regional Security Council, at which the mayors of the 19 Brussels municipalities will be present to discuss the decisions taken per municipality, according to Balci.
The order, however, will be for 3 million masks, three times more than was initially foreseen. “We will provide each inhabitant with two masks,” Vervoort told BX1 in a radio interview. The distribution will take place via the municipalities.
Since Monday 4 May, it is mandatory to wear a face mask in spaces where the social distance of 1.5 metres cannot always be guaranteed, such as on public transport and soon in schools.
Due to a shortage of masks, and with Federal Justice Minister Koen Geens acknowledging that it would be “impossible” to get everyone in Belgium a face mask in time, many Brussels’ mayors decided not to wait for the government, and launched their own initiatives to provide the people with masks.
“We provide two for each Brussels citizen, a stock for our staff and an extra buffer. The masks serve to protect each other,” said Vervoort, adding that the masks will be available in three different sizes. When they will be delivered is not clear yet, as it will depend on the production capacity of the chosen supplier, among other things.
Additionally, the face masks will be compatible with the filters supplied by the federal government, according to Vervoort.