The mayor of Ghent imposed new restrictions on glass and loud music outdoors on Thursday, after thousands of students violated the ban on gatherings to party on a square Wednesday evening.
The city’s council has taken steps to prevent such gatherings by prohibiting glass on the Sint-Pietersplein, and at other popular locations including the student party district the Overpoort, and at Graslei, Korenlei and Coupure Left and Right.
“From now on, it is also forbidden to play electronically amplified music on public property throughout the city,” Ghent mayor Mathias De Clercq announced, a rule which was already in place this summer at the Graslei and Korenlei, but which has now been implemented all over.
Over the past week, three large-scale gatherings were reported on the Sint-Pietersplein in the city’s student neighbourhood, which involved groups of people drinking and dancing to music, despite current measures stating outdoor gatherings should be limited to a maximum of four people.
“That is why we are intervening. What we saw yesterday was not okay. Young people can go outside, but in small groups. We are really calling on you not to turn this into a party,” said De Clercq.
The square in the student neighbourhood was closed off Wednesday night after thousands of people gathered to party in close proximity with each other around 6:00 PM.
“Situations like yesterday only make sure that it will take even longer, that we have to wait even longer to go to festivals or to open the bars,” he added.
Ghent is currently experiencing what emergency services are calling a worrying rise in coronavirus infections with the highest 14-day average out of all the major cities.
The Brussels Times