Brussels mayors voice concerns over quality of face masks ordered

Brussels mayors voice concerns over quality of face masks ordered
Illustration picture. © Belga

Several Brussels mayors have voiced concerns over the quality of the face masks bought by regional authorities, with some saying they are "paper-thin."

Masks bought by the Brussels-Capital Region have begun being distributed across the municipalities, but many local mayors have said the quality leaves much to be desired.

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"We won't be seeing the Region's masks on the noses of the people of Brussels," Auderghem Mayor Didier Gosuin told Bruzz, adding that he had heard several complaints from residents.

"There is a problem with their quality. The opening for the filters is too large, causing them to fall out. There is also a problem with the elastic straps," Gosuin said.

Mayor Vincent De Wolf from Etterbeek said that, while he was no expert, the face masks looked like they were "paper-thin," suggesting that using thicker filters might help.

"The fabric looks like a piece of paper," he said. "But with a filter, they may be useful. Those filters fit well when you fold them in two."

The mayor of Schaerbeek, Bernard Clerfayt, who is also regional minister for work, also voiced disappointment about the late arrival of the masks and their quality.

While several Brussels mayors moved to provide face masks to residents of their municipalities, authorities in Schaerbeek opted to wait for the masks announced by the region and by federal authorities.

"We thought they would arrive on time and that the quality would be good. But we are a bit disappointed," he said.

A regional spokesperson said the face masks ordered fit the recommended standards.

"Maybe the mayor of Auderghem thinks the opening for the filters is too big, but the masks are made according to the standards," the spokesperson told Bruzz, adding: "Maybe he should have the masks of his own municipality checked because they are not made according to the standards."

The mayors' comments come as authorities at the federal level grapple with their own order of 18 million face masks, which are yet to be distributed to citizens.

As Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès announced that the face masks were to be handed out from next week, the government has been hit by complaints about the fact that 15 million of the masks ordered do not meet the safety standards outlined in official documents.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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