The mayor of Bredene has announced that the only nudist beach in Belgium will have to close down this summer due to coronavirus regulations.
Mayor Steve Vandenberghe announced the decision as mayors in Belgian beach towns begin preparing their beaches to receive holidaymakers amid the pandemic.
The nude beach in Bredene will have to open up for regular beach-goers, as Vandenberghe said mayors needed to maximize available space to ensure proper social-distancing.
"We do not like to do this," Vandenberghe told De Standaard, adding that Bredene, located just north of Ostend, was popular and busy during the summer.
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"It's definitely not going to be a summer like other years," he added on Twitter.
The Governor of West Flanders, Carl Delauwé, had called on mayors to take steps to limit the number of visitors on beaches as much as possible and to provide sufficient space for them to spread out as much as possible.
"We don't want to be the cause of a possible flare-up of the virus," Vandenberghe said, adding that the small stretch of the nude beach would also make it difficult to enforce social-distancing rules.
In 2018, an effort to create a second nude beach in Belgium ran into some resistance as Flemish nature organisations argued that the "subsidiary activities" of some beach-goers who got busy in Bredene's dunes would frighten the area's natural wildlife.
The Belgian Federation of Naturism, strong of some 8,000 members, said that they regretted such behaviour "which had nothing to do with naturism," The Guardian reports.
The Brussels Times