Brussels distributes first 800,000 masks from Wednesday
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    Brussels distributes first 800,000 masks from Wednesday

    Credit: Belga

    The first 800,000 face masks provided by the Brussels Regional Government are being distributed on Wednesday 20 May.

    The masks are the first batch of the 3.5 million masks ordered by the Region, and will be distributed among the municipal authorities, Brussels regional officials (administrations and institutions of public utility) and the staff of the municipal administrations.

    The masks are certified, made from a washable fabric, reusable and double-layered, and can also be fitted with a filter.

    The Region wants to provide every citizen, as well as Brussels regional and municipal officials, with at least one reusable fabric face mask, following the National Security Council’s decision to make wearing a mask mandatory on public transport and strongly recommended in public spaces.

    The masks will be distributed over the next weeks, with the aim to provide every inhabitant of Brussels over 3 years old with a mask by the end of May. A second one will also be provided, in June. Additionally, the mayors of many Brussels communes also delivered masks to their residents, as they decided not to wait for the federal government.

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    “The usefulness of a mask is not so much to protect oneself against the virus, but to protect others by ensuring that saliva droplets do not spread, especially on public transport where it is not always possible to keep the necessary distance,” said Brussels’ Minister-President Rudi Vervoort.

    “In this context, we consider it very important to treat all inhabitants of Brussels equally. The masks are intended for the entire population of Brussels, including children over the age of three, the homeless and people living here illegally,” he added.

    For the distribution, the Region works closely with Iriscare (Brussels social protection organisation) and Citydev (Brussels Regional Development Agency), as well as the different municipal authorities, who are responsible for deciding how the masks are distributed among their residents. It will go hand in hand with a communication campaign focused on keeping a safe distance and wearing a face mask, aimed at youth.

    “It is understandable that citizens are getting a little tired of it. Now that summer is back in the country, and with the holidays coming up soon, many will feel like getting out and meeting up with friends again,” said Vervoort.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times