One mayor goes it alone: terraces in Middelkerke, come what may
Friday, 02 April 2021
Mayor Jean-Marie Dedecker (LDD) has installed 30 terrace tables with four chairs each in Middelkerke, saying, “If Brussels decides to keep the terraces of the catering industry closed, we will place our own terraces.”
Dedecker has long been known for his rebellious behaviour but says he still always follows the rules of the game, according to Nieuwsblad.
“We have been making publicity for years to encourage people to spend their holidays by the sea and now we are going to forbid them?” he said. “We are certainly not going to do that, we have invested too much. If they had decided in Brussels to allow the catering industry to open up their terraces, none of this would have been necessary.”
Anyone who wants to can use the temporary terrace tables, according to Dedecker.
“People who go and get something from one of the restaurants, for example, can eat it quietly at one of the thirty tables,” he said. “At the moment people have nowhere to do that. With the terrace tables and chairs, we as a municipality provide a solution.”
At 10:00 AM every morning during the Easter holidays, workmen will place 30 tables, each with four chairs, by the fence that runs along the beach.
“I don’t call that civil disobedience, but civil wisdom,” said Dedecker. “Everyone is welcome here. As a municipality, we have the power to limit the nuisance and that is what we are doing with this in a decent way. We don’t panic, we tackle things. Everything here is reserved during the Easter holidays, so it will be very busy here.”
The tables will be taken away every evening at 8:00 PM. After the Easter holidays, the tables and chairs will only be placed during the weekends until the catering industry is officially allowed to open its doors again.
“If those tables and chairs are placed away from the catering establishments, then in principle the mayor is not doing anything wrong,” said Governor Carl Decaluwe. “If the tables are placed near the catering establishments that do take-away, then Dedecker is in violation. We must do our utmost to spread out the Easter holidays. The crowds will depend on the weather and that does not look too good. It’s up to the local police to enforce.”