Brussels makes face masks mandatory on high street and pedestrian zone
Friday, 24 July 2020
Rue Neuve in Brussels on 11 May, the first day of shop reopening after the coronavirus lockdown. Credit: Jules Johnston/The Brussels Times
Wearing a face mask will be mandatory from 27 July for anyone walking through the Brussels’ pedestrian zone or in the bustling Rue Neuve.
Brussels 1000 Mayor Philippe Close announced the new measures after officials at the National Security Council (NSC) meeting tightened rules to slow the rising curb of new Covid-19 infections in Belgium.
“Even if the figures for new infections for the City of Brussels remain low today, I call on our people and on visitors to be and remain vigilant,” Close said.
The NSC face mask rules on Thursday mark a sharp turn from the body’s initial stance on the use of face masks by the general public.
As the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic hit Belgium, and amid grave shortages of face masks and other protective gear, several high-level officials had stated that the generalised use of face masks was not necessary.
Federal Health Minister Maggie De Block and state virologist Steven Van Gucht said several times that masks were not needed or that they were of “little use” for healthy people.