Ice cream trucks can’t drive around under current measures
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Ice cream trucks can’t drive around under current measures

Credit: Belga

Ice creams trucks in Belgium will not be allowed to drive around under current measures, meaning that those who usually rely on door-to-door sales during the peak season will have to adjust their business model.

Food stalls and ice cream vans are currently only allowed to sell their products from a fixed location with the permission of the municipality or city concerned, according to the Federal Public Economic Service.

“All door-to-door trade, including ice cream trucks but also soup trucks and people delivering fresh fruit and vegetables, is prohibited under the Ministerial Decree and these measures,” Chantal De Pauw, spokesperson for the Federal Public Economic Service, told The Brussels Times.

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This means that mobile ice cream vendors, who were hoping to start selling their produce on the go again as temperatures begin to soar, will have to apply for permissions from the local council concerned to reserve a location for their vans, until restrictions are lifted.

“The ice cream trucks can still do business, but they must then have permission from the municipality and must pay a certain fee to be allowed to stand there and to sell from one spot. There is no national authority for these permits, so the application process and duration for these differs from municipality to municipality and city to city,” De Pauw added.

If the municipality or city allows more than one ice cream truck in one place, the council must organise it in a way that there is enough distance between them for clients to respect the measures, she explained.

However, it is still the ice-cream vendor’s responsibility to ensure that their customers follow the rules and that social distancing is practised between clients waiting in line or eating their ice creams after purchase.

‘Moving around is safer’

Last week, many people were getting excited about hearing the beloved bells of the ice cream trucks approaching their houses once again, including the vendors.

One man who owns an ice cream van company, Xavier Roefs, was hoping to mobilise around 10 to 12 vans last weekend, and told Radio 2 Antwerp that he received permission from the province and the local council that trucks definitely would be allowed to drive around.

He argued that continuously moving around is safer during a health crisis, as it avoids the gathering of large groups of people around one place, and rather allows people to come to the truck one ‘bubble’ at a time.

Antwerp governor Cathy Berx caused some confusion after she had mistakenly announced early on Friday that these trucks would be allowed to move around to sell ice cream in the province of Antwerp, but she soon rectified this announcement, after the Federal Public Economic Service had confirmed that door-to-door business activities were still prohibited.

“Since we obviously want to apply the measures in force in our province correctly, mobile ice cream vans are unfortunately not yet allowed to drive around, just like they are forbidden elsewhere in the country,” she said.

Lauren Walker
The Brussels Times