Court rejects street vendors’ appeal against coronavirus rules

Court rejects street vendors’ appeal against coronavirus rules
© Belga

Brussels’ Dutch-language lower court has rejected an application by a group of street vendors against the federal government’s measures governing the reopening of the city’s markets.

The presiding judge ruled that the application, presented by four vendors, could not be received by the court, partly because the petitioners should have addressed it to the Council of State.

The vendors had asked the court to order the Government to lift a number of restrictions imposed in a bid to ensure that markets reopened safely. These include limiting the number of stands to a maximum of 50, requiring markets to present a one-way traffic plan and banning the consumption of food and beverages on site.

Since Belgium entered phase 4 of its deconfinement plan of 1 July, the limit on stalls has been lifted.

According to the vendors, the measures have been keeping customers away from the markets since they make them less convivial and attractive. This has caused them to lose money in the short and long term, they argued, explaining that, forced to make purchases elsewhere, customers discover new stores and markets lose clients.

The judge ruled that the petitioners should have gone to the Council of State to request the suspension or cancellation of the restrictions. Lifting them for the petitioners alone would violate the equality principle, he explained.

The judge also noted that the court could not grant the petitioners permission to flout the measures. “No one has the subjective right not to have to comply with the law,” he said.

The Brussels Times

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