‘The death of commerce and leisure’: unions criticise strict shopping measures

‘The death of commerce and leisure’: unions criticise strict shopping measures
© Anastasia Chepinska for Unsplash

Belgium’s trade union for the self employed (SNI) has sharply criticised the strict new measures meant to control the spread of the coronavirus, asking whether the Consultative Committee that imposed them “wants the death of trade and leisure.”

“Vaccination has happened, and yet it’s like going back a year,” they said, according to Belga News Agency.

The union points in particular to the decision to only allow a maximum of two people per household to shop, and the rule of one person per 10 square metres, which is “once again based on nothing.”

“Shops are not places of contamination, as a survey by the Pasteur Institute has once again shown,” a union spokesperson said. “There is therefore no reason to restrict them.”

For the SNI, the timing could not be worse given that the end of December is always a busy period for businesses with Christmas shopping.

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“On top of that, the winter sales start on 3 January, one of the most important periods of the year for retailers. This is all the more necessary as they have to rebuild their cash flow which has been badly damaged this year,” the union said.

They’re also concerned for the entire indoor leisure sector (go-karting, bowling, etc.) which has already had to close for a long time since the beginning of the health crisis.

“This winter period is one of the most important for them as the weather is pushing them to relax indoors. They are also large, well-ventilated spaces. Let’s take go-karting, for example, which did not wait for the crisis to equip itself with air extractors. So where is the logic in closing them down?”

The SNI also called on the various levels of government to speed up the granting of aid to these beleaguered sectors.


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