Several Belgian mayors had announced on Thursday they would reopen their terraces before 8 May as they would no longer have the means to prevent hospitality owners from opening their businesses.
Belgium’s Consultation Committee on Wednesday (14 April) decided to ‘cautiously’ loosen certain COVID-19 restrictions, including lifting a travel ban, reopening outdoor terraces for the hospitality sector and extending social bubbles.
Jean-Marie Dedecker, the mayor of one of Belgium’s coastal towns, amongst others announced he will go with the 1 May opening date for the terraces, despite the Consultative Committee’s decision to wait another week.
“The terraces here can reopen on 1 May. I am tired of walking behind a carrot, like I’m a donkey,” he told VTM News. “The light at the end of the tunnel always turns out to be an approaching train.”
Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden, reacting to the mayor’s threats, has called on all local authorities to respect the Consultative Committee’s decisions.
“We call on everyone with responsibility, including local authorities, to respect the measures,” she tweeted. “This is the only way to limit the spread of the virus.”
Met de maatregelen van gisteren hebben we een evenwicht gezocht. Vanaf 8 mei kan er stilaan meer, zeker buiten. We roepen iedereen met verantwoordelijkheid, de lokale besturen inbegrepen, op om de maatregelen te respecteren. Enkel zo beperken we de verspreiding van het virus.
— Annelies Verlinden (@AnneliesVl) April 15, 2021
(Alexandra Brzozowski, EURACTIV.com)