Brussels cinemas stay open in violation of coronavirus measures

Brussels cinemas stay open in violation of coronavirus measures
Credit: Belga

For many cinemas in Brussels, Monday was business as usual – despite the fact that they have been ordered to close as part of new, stricter coronavirus measures that came into effect this week.

Some cinemas reported that they were actually even busier than usual, according to Bruzz, while others said the traffic was typical.

“There are at least as many people as on a normal Monday during the holidays,” a cashier at Cinema Palace on Boulevard Anspach told a Bruzz reporter.

Most of the visitors are waiting for the opening of the exhibition on Louis de Funès, which is currently running in the halls of the Palace.

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Manager Eric Franssen said he wasn’t sure what the consequences would be for violating the Covid-19 measures, which many have criticised as unfairly targeting the beleaguered cultural sector.

“When the police come we will talk,” Franssen said. “I don't know what I can actually expect, maybe a fine?”

Solidarity from cultural sector

Besides Cinema Palace, a handful of other cinemas are keeping their doors open on Monday in protest against the current measures. Thousands of people demonstrated against the new rules in Brussels on Sunday.

“Yesterday was a success and we expect nothing less today,” said Peggy Fol of Cinema Vendôme in Ixelles. “What more do you want? We have always followed the measures closely. Even virologists do not understand the compulsory closure. It doesn't make sense.”

“The police can burst in here any time and fine us. We are aware of that. But we have agreed among ourselves that we will contest any fines,” Fol said, referring to a collective of cinema operators. “We will not let them do this to us anymore.”

Police plan to record offenders

Police say their first course of action will be to ensure people are aware of the guidelines in the first place. They will then seek out offenders and take the necessary actions.

“If necessary, they will first issue a warning, and later a report,” a spokesperson for the Brussels-Capital-Ixelles police zone said.

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