Brussels new measures are ‘not enough,’ expert warns
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Brussels new measures are ‘not enough,’ expert warns

Place de Brouckère, the northerly end of the pedestrian zone. © Jules Johnston, The Brussels Times

New measures taken in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus in Brussels do not go far enough, according to virologist and inter-federal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht.

From Monday bars will have to close at 11:00 PM instead of 1:00 AM, while shops that sell food or drink must close at 10:00 PM, as is already the case for night-shops. Eating at markets is also prohibited from Monday.

“A closing hour: all well and good, unless, of course, one continues partying at home. And that is what will happen, I guarantee you. So you won’t achieve anything,” Van Gucht told HLN.

To Van Gucht, keeping places open with enforced social distancing rules would have been preferable as “you at least still have the opportunity to check whether the rules are being observed”.

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The new rules come after Brussels minister-president Rudi Vervoort called an urgent meeting of the region’s crisis cell on Saturday, made up of the mayors of the 19 communes, heads of the six police zones, the chief administrator and the chief prosecutor of the Brussels arrondissement.

Van Gucht was also quick to point out that communication of measures to all communities will be a challenge. “This has to be done locally, for example with information points where all possible questions can be answered.”

The latest changes to Belgium’s countrywide regulations will go into effect as of 1 October. For a full explainer, click here.

Jules Johnston
The Brussels Times