Share article:
Share article:

Seaside mayor has a plan for opening terraces on 1 May

The seafront at Middelkerke in pre-Covid times. © Stephane Mignon/Flickr

Jean-Marie Dedecker, the rebellious mayor of Middelkerke, has announced he has discovered a legal loophole that will allow him to keep his promise of opening terraces along the seafront on 1 May.

Yesterday the Consultative Committee decided opening up on 1 May was too soon, given the situation of the Covid-19 epidemic in the country, and pushed the opening back to 8 May.

But Dedecker had already promised he would allow his cafe and restaurant terraces to open on 1 May regardless of what the committee decided. And now he claims to have found a way to do so legally.

The plan, paradoxically, involves the city council suspending the terrace licences for all Horeca businesses along the front.

In this way, the entire seafront will temporarily become public domain and we as a municipality are allowed to place chairs and tables there. Then everyone can order food or drink from the catering establishments and consume it at those tables.”

The loophole, he explained, means that owners of establishments may carry on acting legally, while customers can carry their take-out food and drinks to the city’s tables.

Related News


The one thing missing from the equation is table service.

On a previous occasion, the council had placed 30 tables each with four chairs, on the seafront without difficulty. That number will now be increased to 200 tables and 800 chairs – the exact setting imposed by the Consultative Committee yesterday.

Dedecker insists his plan is totally legal.

We have discussed and studied it extensively with the legal service. True, we are pushing the boundaries, but the absurd rules force us to do so. The measures we are taking now are there to protect health and safety, nothing more or less. We have taken this decision with the members of the city council and in consultation with about 40 catering business owners. There is great enthusiasm.”

One such is Peter Bijvoet of restaurant Deauville, who told De Morgen: “This could have been done earlier because we wanted to open much faster. The mayor will install his own municipal patio furniture, so it has nothing to do with our infrastructure or material. I am very pro, absolutely. I see people picking up take-away meals, but they don’t know where to go with them.”

More cautious was Carine Matton from Bistro@Sea.

I was afraid of the consequences of opening on May 1 – we’re being scared from all sides. I’m not only thinking of ourselves as a company but also of our customers. What Dedecker is proposing now sounds positive, but I really want to see it in black and white, so as not to be faced with unpleasant surprises.”

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Experts call for more widespread use of masks as figures rise
As coronavirus figures continue to rise, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has suggested that people return to wearing masks when indoors with ...
Belgium wants to recover €420 million in wrongfully paid out coronavirus aid
The Belgian State intends to recover €420 million of unduly paid Covid-19 aid, La Libre Belgique reported on Thursday. The electronic Council of ...
Why the fight for transgender rights is polarising Europe 
Year after year, Samuel De Schepper would ask Santa Claus to bring him a penis for Christmas. Born female and attending an all girl’s Catholic ...
New offshore wind farm officially opened
Despite being operational since the end of 2020, the SeaMade offshore wind farm was officially inaugurated on Wednesday by Prime Minister Alexander ...
Contact tracers have no time for calls, only texts, amid rising cases
Contract tracers will no longer make phone calls to the high-risk contacts of people who test positive for the coronavirus beginning from Wednesday, ...
Belgium holds on to top spot in FIFA rankings despite recent losses
Once again, Belgium's Red Devils have held onto their position at the top of the world football rankings, according to an update released by the ...
Proximus pushes for high-speed internet in Brussels and Wallonia
Fifteen municipalities in Wallonia should soon have access to high-speed internet through the rollout of fibre optics in the region, telecoms giant ...
Why Belgium is regulating sex work
After decades of confusing rules and hypocritical policy, Belgium is finally regulating sex work by removing prostitution from the criminal law. ...
World’s largest chocolate warehouse opens in Flanders
On Thursday, Barry Callebaut – the largest global chocolate processor and manufacturer – opened the world's largest chocolate warehouse in Lokeren, ...
Belgium in Brief: Equal Opportunity To Dance
There's a phrase where I'm from, more often said in jest nowadays, but it came to my mind this morning: "Ye dancin'?" (Are you dancing?), one ...
Farmer discovers cocaine in banana boxes bought in Brussels
A Flemish farmer who purchased boxes of bananas at the market in Brussels on Tuesday came home to discover large amounts of cocaine packed among the ...
Changes to speed cameras increase likelihood of a ticket
Changes to the way speed cameras work in Flanders and Wallonia will increase the likelihood of receiving a ticket when cars pass them above the ...