Over a dozen horeca closures as Antwerp cracks down on social distancing
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    Over a dozen horeca closures as Antwerp cracks down on social distancing

    Credit: Belga/Dirk Waem

    Over a dozen eating and drinking establishments were forced to closed in Antwerp at the weekend during the first week of tightened measures to fight the emergence of a coronavirus cluster.

    Thirteen coffees, restaurants and bars were caught flouting social distancing measures and are set to remain closed for at least one whole week.

    On Saturday, nine horeca, or hospitality industry establishments, were ordered to close down over “flagrant violations” of the coronavirus regulations, 7sur7 reports.

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    Antwerp Mayor Bart De Wever had ordered police to crack down on not respecting social-distancing or on violations or on the requirement for both staff and customers to wear face masks.

    Announcing the Saturday closures, De Wever took to Twitter to urge other establishments to stick to the rules.

    The tightening of rules enforcement comes as the Antwerp province battles rising infection numbers, prompting concerns that a new wave of the pandemic is looming over Belgium.

    It also coincides with the introduction of new rules in the horeca industry, including the collection of customer’s contact details to facilitate contact tracing.

    The National Security Council (NSC) is meeting on Monday morning to discuss stricter measures to contain emerging clusters, with the question of local lockdowns reportedly on the menu.

    As the rate of infections continued to pick up steam throughout the week in the Antwerp region, some experts said that putting the area under lockdown as now the “only solution.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times