Belgium's terraces are "guaranteed" to reopen on 8 May, regardless of what Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke says, according to the Francophone liberal MR party.
On Saturday, the group leader of the MR party in the Chamber, Denis Ducarme that he had particular difficulty with "the condescending tone that Vandenbroucke used after the Consultative Committee to say that even the relaxations for the hospitality industry and the contact professions are not set in stone," in an interview with La Libre.
"Public Health is not the government's only responsibility. Vandenbroucke should realise that he is not the prime minister," Ducarme said.
On Sunday, MR president Georges-Louis Bouchez echoed Ducarme's statements, saying that "the Health Minister must stop undermining the confidence and morale of Belgians. The terraces will open on 8 May. We guarantee that."
- ‘Not all terraces will be profitable’ union warns
- Experts question feasibility of Belgium's relaxation milestones
- Belgian mayors urged to keep terraces closed until 8 May
The statements follow repeated comments by Vandenbroucke on Francophone tv-programmes earlier this weekend that the reopening of terraces on 8 May is "not a fixed certainty," but depend on the evolution of the vaccinations and the figures.
As said during Wednesday's Consultative Committee, the relaxations are subject to two conditions: that 70% of people over 65 years old have been vaccinated and protected, and that the situation in hospitals has "sustainably improved."
While Vandenbroucke stressed that the first condition will very likely be met, he - like several experts in Belgium - is unsure about the situation in the intensive care units. Only 92 intensive care beds are currently available in Belgium, which comes down to less than one bed per hospital.
The Brussels Times