Time for Brussels municipalities to decide on own relaxations, says mayor

Time for Brussels municipalities to decide on own relaxations, says mayor
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Brussels' different municipalities should be able to decide about relaxations of the coronavirus measures, said Uccle mayor Boris Dilliès after the Region announced it would not lift measures like the rest of the country in September.

The vaccination coverage in Brussels varies greatly between the Capital-Region's municipalities, ranging from 73% and 75% fully vaccinated adults in Auderghem and Woluwe-Saint-Lambert, respectively, to 48% in both Molenbeek and Saint-Josse, according to the latest data by the Sciensano health institute on Monday.

In Uccle, 69% of adults have been fully vaccinated so far, and 74% have received their first dose so far.

"For the people of Uccle, which borders on Flanders, where the supportive and reasonable population mostly accepts to be vaccinated, being part of the Brussels region is not a plus," mayor Dilliès tweeted on Saturday.

He added that while he has never been one to say that Brussels' local authorities should have more power, "there comes a time when the municipalities should decide for themselves."

"Since the beginning of the crisis, I have shown great solidarity with all the municipalities of Brussels, because the crisis affects us all," Dilliès explained to BX1.

"And I remain convinced that there must be a certain coherence at the regional level. I am very grateful for the work that the Common Community Commission and the government have done," he said.

"However, for municipalities with a vaccination rate above 70% (the threshold indicated by Prime Minister Alexander De Croo), it should be possible to adapt," Dilliès said.

With his statements, he is also supporting the local hospitality sector, as Brussels announced last Friday that it will not follow the Consultative Committee's planned lifting of almost all Covid measures in bars and restaurants next month.

"Brussels should press the pause button for a month, and then we can re-evaluate," said Brussels Minister-President Rudi Vervoort last Friday, adding that the time was not yet right to relax the measures.

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In Flanders and Wallonia, all restrictions on businesses in the hospitality industry, with the exception of wearing face masks, will be lifted from Wednesday 1 September.

In practice, this means there will no longer be a set closing time for bars and restaurants, that people can once again stand at the bar and that the limit on the number of people at a table no longer applies. However, people will still have to wear a face mask when not seated.

"How is it possible that bars and restaurants in Uccle continue to follow the same rules as in other municipalities, where the vaccination rate is much lower?" Dilliès said.

"The figures speak for themselves," he added. "I am still in favour of solidarity, but there must be coherence, and each mayor must take their responsibilities."

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