While the curfew in Belgium will officially be lifted from Saturday 8 May, it will still apply for the two hours between 10:00 PM and midnight in the Brussels-Capital Region on Friday night.
In Flanders and Wallonia (where the curfew currently goes into force at midnight), the rule will no longer apply this weekend.
However, in Brussels, the measure already begins at 10:00 PM, meaning that it will still apply on Friday evening, before it expires at midnight, when Saturday officially starts.
In practice, this means that Brussels residents have to be indoors by 10:00 PM on Friday, stay there for two hours, and will then be able to go outside again from midnight.
“This is a Belgian joke, and not even a good one,” Brussels MP Gilles Verstraeten said on Flemish radio on Thursday morning. “My tolerance limit for such absurdities has reached its lowest point by now.”
“So basically, until 10:00 PM there is no problem. Then, we have to stay inside for two hours, and then, suddenly at the stroke of midnight, there is no problem again,” Verstraeten said. “Could someone please explain to me what value this adds?”
Another issue is that the curfew was not properly enforced, according to him. “I have heard several stories of people who were still on the streets after the curfew, encountered the police and were not fined.”
“The problem is that when you keep such an absurd set of measures, you make an entire population question the whole package of measures,” Verstraeten added.
From Saturday 8 May, the curfew will be replaced by a ban on gatherings of more than three people (with an exception for larger households) from midnight to 5:00 AM, across the entire country.