Under new proposals, all cafés in Brussels will have to close their doors from Thursday 8 October. It applies to cafes and the cafeterias of sports clubs, regardless of whether they serve alcohol or not, as well as party and event halls. Sports clubs should still be allowed to continue their activities.
The measures apply to the Brussels-Capital Region and will stay in place for at least a month. Restaurants, for the time being, will be allowed to stay open.
Infectious diseases expert Erika Vlieghe is “satisfied” with the new measures and thinks that “these measures are a necessary first step to contain the resurgence of the coronavirus.”
Brussels health minister Alain Maron said that tougher measures were needed because Brussels has continuously been reporting worse figures than most of the country.
However, a representative for the Horeca sector in the city has said the new restrictions were a “bodyblow” for the already struggling industry. The decision was taken at a meeting of the 19 mayors of Brussels’ municipalities, members of the Francophone-Flemish joint communities in Brussels, Minister-President of the Brussels-Capital Region Rudi Vervoort and Viviane Scholliers Ndaya, chief of regional civil security.
It comes after it emerged on Tuesday that no less than one in seven people tested in Brussels currently returns a positive result. It means there are some 500 new cases of coronavirus per 100,000 inhabitants in the Brussels-Capital Region.
Almost 2,500 new people per day tested positive for the new coronavirus (Covid-19) in Belgium over the past week, with peaks of over 3,000 infections per day, according to Sciensano’s latest figures. At present 952 patients are currently in hospital in Brussels and, of these, 189 are in intensive care.
The Belgian capital now ranks second among all European capitals in terms of new daily infections, just behind Madrid and ahead of Paris. The total number of deaths in the country since the beginning of the pandemic is currently 10,092. Belgium’s reproduction number (Rt) is currently 1.19, according to Sciensano’s figures.