Fairground sector to give Verlinden legal notice for reopening on 1 June
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Fairground sector to give Verlinden legal notice for reopening on 1 June

Credit: Pascal Smet's cabinet

The Belgian fairground sector on Monday called on two lawyers to put the Federal Home Affairs Minister, Annelies Verlinden, on notice to reopen the fairs on 1 June at the latest.

After being closed for six months as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and with no perspective being given to the industry during the previous Consultative Committees, it has decided to take action.

“The closure of the fairground sector, taken by simple ministerial order, is in our view illegal, but also discriminatory and disproportionate since similar sectors can reopen without any justification being given from a health point of view,” according to lawyers Audrey Despontin and Audrey Lackner.

During previous Consultative Committees, amusement parks, professional flea markets, restaurant terraces, or shopping streets, who also “bring in thousands of people every day,” have been able to open, “yet there is no greater risk of infection at fairs,” the sector argued.

The sector is demanding that a date be set during the next Consultative Committee on Tuesday so that it can get organised, as it highlighted that, to date, “a reopening in May was promised at first, now we are talking about June, without any precision or certainty”.

Despontin and Lackner will now give a formal notice to Verlinden to provide for the reopening of fairs by 1 June at the latest.

“If the minister does not respond favourably to our client’s request, we will have no choice but to launch legal proceedings,” the two lawyers said.

Last Monday, the culture of fairs and fairgrounds has been recognised as Brussels’ heritage, a distinction that gives access to a possible recognition in the intangible heritage of UNESCO, State Secretary for Heritage Pascal Smet announced.

The Brussels Times