Fireworks vendors have come out strongly against the ban on fireworks in private places, describing it as “neither justified nor justifiable,” in a statement released on Sunday.
In March, holiday-goods stores saw their turnover shrink on average by 80%, according to the fireworks vendors, who have come together to defend their interests. Prospects for the year 2021 do not seem better, with many carnivals and other events already cancelled, they note.
While they understand most of the measures taken to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, including the ban on fireworks in public places, they do not understand the reasoning behind the prohibition of fireworks displays in private, the merchants say.
“The correlation between the spread of the virus and the use of fireworks on private grounds seems non-existent,” they said in a statement.
“It seems surprising to ban the private use of fireworks (in one’s garden, one’s private property) and justify it with the fact of not overwhelming our already overcrowded hospitals” when the private use of fireworks causes only about 20 accidents at the end of each year, they added.
Additionally, many of these accidents are “caused by illegal devices sold illegally by people without licensed stores,” they pointed out.
The merchants also noted that the private use of fireworks is authorised in neighbouring countries such as France and Luxembourg, and it is impossible to monitor strictly whether Belgians are crossing the border to purchase them there.