Managers of cafes in Brussels are asking to be provided with security guards if they’re to continue enforcing rules surrounding proof of vaccination, according to reporting from Bruzz.
The Belgian capital requires cafes to demand that patrons show their Covid Safe Ticket (CST) by law, but customers are responding to the legal measure with aggression aimed at the food sector employees left to enforce it.
Over the weekend, one patron stabbed a café manager multiple times in the abdomen with a knife when asked to show his CST.
Other cafes report verbal aggressions and being bombarded with negative reviews on websites as a result of their enforcement of the law. Now they’re asking for help and support in the implementation of the CST check.
“One customer told one of our waiters that we were ‘playing the role of the Gestapo,’ and another customer was angry that we were not checking on him,” Caroline Case of Chez Musette in Uccle told Bruzz.
“It is clear that the CST is causing increased tensions.”
Another customer became aggressive when the café did not ask for the Covid Safe Ticket, Case said.
“My staff don’t know how to deal with it and hesitate to check because they don’t always feel comfortable. After cases of verbal aggression, it only gets harder.”
Horeca Brussels says they’re aware of the issue.
“It’s very unfortunate that one sometimes encounters hotheads. It seems that the aggression has increased in comparison to the past,” said chairperson Marc Vanmuylder, who called the negative review bombing against restaurants that comply with the law “bullying behavior.”
“The hospitality sector applies the law, but is punished for it while they do what they have to do,” said Vanmuylder, adding that Horeca Brussels has already contacted some review websites to ask them for help with that particular issue.
Brussels Minister-President Rudi Vervoort (PS) said on Twitter that restaurant owners should contact the police when people refuse to comply, but others have said this is hardly a realistic solution.
Wanneer iemand zijn CST niet wil tonen, moet de uitbater niet in conflict gaan met de weigeraar, maar de politie bellen. Ik wil erop wijzen dat het CST op de eerste plaats is ingevoerd om de gezondheid van de hele bevolking te beschermen. Ik bedank de mensen voor hun solidariteit
— Rudi Vervoort (@rudivervoort) October 18, 2021
Translation: If someone does not want to show his CST, the proprietor should not get into a fight with the person who refuses, but call the police. I would like to point out that the CST was introduced primarily to protect the health of the entire population. I thank the people for their solidarity.
“He doesn’t know how things work in the catering industry,” Liza Miller, the manager of café Le Pantin, told Bruzz.
Miller is a founding member of the action group ‘Rassemblement de l’Horeca Bruxellois,’ which was founded during the lockdown.
She says the Brussels government should make funding available for all catering establishments to hire one security guard.
“The police work with a list of priority calls,” Miller said. “Unless someone points a gun at you, it takes twenty to thirty minutes before a patrol arrives on the scene. Who knows what can happen in that time?”