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    Some good news to take you into the long weekend

    A Tec bus, now with mre seating. © Occitandu34 Wikimedia

    According to one study, the lockdown has taken a psychological toll on the people. On the other hand, the months of April and May have seen the nicest weather since records began.

    So it could go either way. To help things along, here’s some good news to reflect on as we enter the long weekend.

    More passengers will be allowed on the vehicles of the Walloon public transport authority TEC from Monday: 14 seated and four standing on a normal bus; 18/6 on an articulated bus; and 20/5 on a tram.

    Belgians have since the year 2000 been building their houses smaller and more energy friendly, according to construction and renovation website Livios. And the ratio of one-family homes built to apartment buildings has gone from 56:44 in 2000 to 38:62 in 2017, and the trend continues.

    The national rail authority has announced measures to help out companies that rent premises in railway stations, like sandwich bar Panos and newspaper shop Relay, and have been suffering from a drastic fall in passengers. The SNCB is offering a rebate on charges, interest-free payment plans and an automatic renewal in some cases of station concessions.

    The National Bank is now estimating that the dip in the economy for the first three months of the year was 3.6%, rather than the 3.9% previously forecast.

    Retail stores have reopened more successfully than expected, with higher sales figures and no substantial rush of customers ignoring distancing and hygiene rules, according to Unizo Mode Unie. Sales are currently at about 75% of the figure for the time of the year, and spread across the week, with Saturday the least busy day of all.

    The Ghent-based environmental consultancy ABO-Group has won a prestigious contract to carry out inspections on the Mont Blanc tunnel in France. The group also recently won the contract for ground inspections in the Binnenhof in The Hague, which houses the Dutch Council of State, the parliament and the minister president’s office.

    Alan Hope
    The Brussels Times