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Bar or restaurant: Brussels decides on the difference

Credit: Belga

In addition to bars, tea rooms, coffee shops and cafeterias, cafés serving food in the Brussels-Capital Region also have to close for one month from today, according to the Ministerial Decree that was published in the Belgian Official Journal on Thursday.

As there was some confusion about what constituted a bar and what constituted a restaurant after the measure was announced on Wednesday, the official text was necessary to know how the new rules would be enforceable, according to Yves Stevens of the National Crisis Centre.

According to the Decree, “places for the consumption of drinks, excluding restaurants” will have to close for a month.

These places are defined as places open to the public intended for the consumption of alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages on the spot, even if this activity is only secondary.

“In particular, this refers to cafés, bars, any place with drinks on tap, teahouses, cafeterias, and any other place where alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are offered for consumption on the premises,” the text states.

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Restaurants, for their part, are defined as “places open to the public primarily intended to prepare and/or make available to the public meals to be consumed on the spot or taken away.”

Additionally, “festive activities of a private nature in festive and multipurpose halls” are forbidden, as is “the consumption of alcohol in the public space throughout the Brussels-Capital Region,” and “the consumption of beverages, food or any other form of snack in markets and any other place where several businesses are gathered outdoors.”

The relevant administrative authorities in the territory of the Brussels-Capital Region will be responsible for implementing this Decree, and the police forces are responsible for enforcing compliance with the rules, “if necessary by force and/or violence.”

As expected, the Decree also confirms that bookshops with a games room, and any other business selling drinks or food, even secondary, have to close at 10:00 PM at the latest, like night shops.

“Even if the current hospitalisation figures do not yet reflect a complete saturation of the hospital network, the exponential curve of contaminations over the last few days indicates that this will soon be reached,” the Decree also states.

“The Region wishes to limit the impact on the various economic sectors of the Region by avoiding a situation where a complete lockdown would become inevitable,” it adds.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times