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Belgian nightclubs want to reopen on 1 October

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Nightclubs in Belgium want to reopen their doors on 1 October, and drew up their own protocol for the authorities to make it possible.

In the protocol that the sector submitted to the government, it underlined that clubs will have been closed for a year and a half if they get permission to open on their target date.

To draw up the protocol, the Brussels by Night Federation worked together with nightclubs from Flanders and Wallonia, as well as with Brussels alderman for culture Delphine Houba and Brussels professor of infectious diseases Nathan Clumeck (CHU Saint-Pierre), reports Bruzz.

Many of the rules currently in force for the hospitality industry, however, such as restrictions on the number of visitors, social distance or the obligation to wear a mask when moving around are not workable in a club, the sector stressed.

“Despite the complexity of the nightlife sector, the DNA of its activities and the diversity of participants, we have made every effort to establish a coherent and applicable protocol in as many cases as possible,” the document states.

That protocol is built on three pillars.

Firstly, a green certificate – showing that someone has been fully vaccinated, recently tested negative, or recovered from the virus and is therefore immune – would need to be shown by everyone who wants to enter a club.

On Wednesday, the European Parliament gave its final approval for the rollout of the ‘Digital Covid Certificate,‘ and Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke Thursday confirmed that it would be available in Belgium from 16 June.

Secondly, a system of rapid testing should be set up to detect so-called super spreaders. “We propose creating testing centres where visitors can get tested within 72 hours before going out,” the sector said.

For this, it also asks the government for support through public funds, as well as help with the logistics of setting this up.

Lastly, good ventilation in all nightclubs is crucial, according to the sector, which is asking for a financial contribution from the government to install reliable air circulation systems.

The protocol should be a starting point for discussions with the government, as the sector cannot accept that it is “systematically silenced.”

While the sector itself put forward 1 October as a date to reopen, it is asking the government to make the decision at least three months before whatever date they choose.

“Whatever decision is taken, we would like to point out to the authorities that a reopening – after more than a year and a half of closure – requires a lot of preparation,” the sector said.

The Brussels Times