Reopen shops, hospitality industry and contact professions, union urges
Monday, 12 April 2021
Closing times for bars may be lifted. Credit: Belga
On Monday, the Union of the Middle Classes (UCM) asked Belgium’s government to “take the path of deconfinement” at the Consultative Committee that will take place on Wednesday.
The union is calling for the full reopening of shops and contact professions on Monday 26 April, and the hospitality industry on Saturday 1 May.
According to the UCM, the country had passed the peak of the third wave “even before the closure of the contact trades and the near-closure of the shops had any effect.”
The organisation also highlighted the progress of the vaccination campaign, and added that experts are now calling for a change of strategy. “They see, as does the UCM, that the urgency has shifted,” it added.
“In the face of restrictions and bans whose legality is being challenged by the courts, a growing number of people are rebelling. Compliance with the rules is in free fall,” the union said.
“Clandestine activities are multiplying without respect for health precautions and to the detriment of professionals who comply with injunctions,” they added.
Therefore, reopening the businesses is necessary to “avoid a social explosion” and limit the economic damage, according to the UCM, which stressed the despair of the self-employed and SME managers.
Additionally, the organisation is calling for the reopening of the hospitality industry to be announced “firmly and definitively” on Wednesday, to give professionals time to prepare to welcome customers.
“Waiting until the virus is no longer circulating to deconfine is no longer a reasonable choice,” the union stated. “The self-employed and heads of SMEs, even more than the rest of the population, need to regain their freedom little by little.”