'People will gather anyway’: Jan Jambon argues for re-opening of terraces

'People will gather anyway’: Jan Jambon argues for re-opening of terraces
Credit: Belga

Flemish Minister-President Jan Jambon has again argued that the terraces of bars, restaurants, and hotels should be re-opened during the Easter holidays, despite coronavirus figures worsening and a backlash from other politicians.

Despite the increasing infection rates and the rising number of people in intensive care units in Belgium, the sector should still be allowed to re-open in this way from 3 April onwards, said Jambon.

"As far as I'm concerned, but we have to keep an eye on the contamination figures every day, the relaxations planned for April are not under threat. But we must always be careful in this pandemic," Jambon told Radio 1.

He argued that allowing terraces to open up has nothing to do with easing up measures, as the government already allowed gatherings of up to ten people outside, however, this is under the condition that people keep 1,5-metre distance and wear face masks.

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“If the weather is good, people will huddle together. So they will occupy the squares and parks. Are we going to send the police there every time?" said Jambon, adding that by opening up terraces, this gathering could be done in an organised way.

He also mentioned that this relaxation needs consensus and would be discussed during the next Consultative Committee on 26 March, however, during the last meeting, all regional governments were against this proposal.

Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke has already spoken out against this decision, saying that “reopening the terraces is definitely out of the question” considering the epidemiological situation in the country.

Lauren Walker

The Brussels Times

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