Ghent tries chalk circles in park to help with social distancing
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Ghent tries chalk circles in park to help with social distancing

Credit: Paul Hermans / CC BY-SA 3.0

After a series of mass gatherings in public parks in Belgium resulted in the need for police to disperse crowds, Ghent is experimenting with chalk circles in St. Peter’s Square to help with social distancing.

The warm and sunny weather of the last two weeks brought people out of isolation and into Belgium’s many parks, and many of those gathering weren’t abiding by coronavirus measures that require them to remain at least 1.5 metres apart.

St. Peter’s Square in Ghent has been popular with students in particular. There were multiple parties there last week, including one with over 100 people in attendance and another that resulted in 27 different students receiving fines.

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Workers have now painted large, white circles in the park that will allow students to sit on the ground in groups of four, hoping to avoid more spontaneous parties while still keeping the park open.

“We must dare to let students take their responsibility,” Mayor Mathias De Clercq told HLN. “These circles are a tool, a reminder to stay in small groups.”

The circles are set in chalk paint, which will last for about two months.

Helen Lyons
The Brussels Times