Three out of four Brussels cafes aren’t checking for Covid Safe Tickets (CSTs), according to an investigation by Bruzz journalists.
The journalists visited 20 cafes in the centre of Brussels and also found that half of them had appointed a security guard for weekends because they’re worried about customers becoming aggressive, like when one café patron stabbed a manager who asked to see his CST, as is required by law.
That check has been mandatory for two weeks now, but on Tuesday, Inge Neven of the Brussels health inspectorate indicated that checks in cafes are not always carried out as they should be.
The police also said they’re not yet checking for compliance.
Every café Bruzz visited expressed similar concerns about how to handle the CST checks they’re being asked to enforce, with some calling the expectation to have employees take on the extra task “unfeasible.”
“The relationship with our customers has completely changed now that the CST has been introduced,” one bartender told journalists.
“I hold my breath in the winter when our customers come in for warmth. I already don't know where my head is.”
Many said that people have tried to show someone else’s CST in order to gain entrance, indicating that fraud is a common issue, and patrons have responded with abuse to the café employees tasked with enforcing the law.
“Three colleagues have already been assaulted because a customer could not present a CST, my colleague's arm has also been broken once,” the manager of a café in Sint-Gorikshallen said.
“We have no choice but to hire a security guard.”
Café Zebra has done the same.
“We have already experienced aggression from customers who refused to show their CST and finally when we called the police, it took half an hour for them to arrive on the scene,” a manager there said. “On a security guard, we can count much better.”