Antwerp, Ghent and Leuven have agreed to cancel their Christmas markets, in parallel to the increase in coronavirus cases and the announcement of new restrictions in the country to stop the spread. BrusselsHowever, it plans to continue with its Christmas market, open this Friday. “It has not been an easy decision, but the local measures and the increase in the curve do not leave us another decision unfortunately,” Antwerp Mayor Bart De Wever said in a statement on Saturday.
De Wever added that the city, which will not celebrate the end of the year fireworks, does plan to host other Christmas events, which will include an ice skating rink and the setting up of a Nativity Scene. Brussels, for its part, has decided to keep for now its traditional and famous flea market Christmas, although the health pass (Covid Safe Ticket) will be necessary to be able to eat or drink in any of its stalls, make purchases or enjoy its attractions and the mask will be mandatory.
The 100 person limit
Belgian authorities met on Friday to decide on new measures to try to curb Covid infections, which have seen an increase in recent weeks. For the Christmas markets they decided to limit the capacity to 100 people, including the organizers, except when a health pass is required.
According to data released this Saturday by Sciensano, between November 20 and 26 there were an average of 305.7 new daily admissions in Belgian hospitals due to coronavirus, an increase of 14% compared to the previous week.
In total 3,494 people are hospitalized in the country, 682 in intensive care. In addition, on Friday the Minister of Public Health, Frank Vandenbroucke, reported the detection on November 22 of a case in the country of the new South African variant of covid-19.