Since September 29, bars and restaurants must close at 11 p.m. everywhere in Belgium. In Brussels, bars were drastically closed on October 8 for a month – but not bar-restaurants, which are to be limited to tables of four.
This half-measure, considered discriminatory by those responsible for this sector, will it be enough to stem a second wave? Nothing is less certain in this country which has passed the barrier of 10,000 Covid-19 deaths, and is among the most affected in the world in relation to the number of inhabitants.
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However, the compulsory wearing of a mask and respect for social distance seem little respected. At the checkouts of some supermarkets, customers themselves make the law in the face of the lax staff, so that some do not stick to others and above all, take the trouble to put on their masks correctly.
Brussels, epicenter of the pandemic
On Saturday 10, police interrupted a night party « clandestine » for 54 people in a small hotel in downtown Brussels, privatized for the occasion. The rue Neuve, the main pedestrian artery of the city center, was crowded the same evening, with passers-by sometimes without masks, neither checked nor fined.
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Brussels, spared at the start of the pandemic, has become its epicenter in Belgium. The screening tests are 17% positive, against 10.4% nationally. Belgium had 120 admissions per day to the hospital from October 2 to 8, for 16 deaths per day on average (+ 6.7% compared to the previous week).
The number of cases doubles every two days
According to the Crisis Center set up by the government, the number of diagnosed cases doubles every two days (+ 7,950 on October 11). The 20-29 age group is the most affected, and the oldest are not spared. Of the 1,329 people currently hospitalized because of Covid-19, as of October 12, 243 are in intensive care – 13% of the country’s maximum capacity, which could be saturated at the end of the month.
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The provinces of Walloon Brabant and Luxembourg imposed for two weeks, on October 12, a curfew between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m., criticized for being useless. While the measures continue to rain, in dispersed order, the spokespersons of the catering sector point the finger at the absence of special provisions in public transport, places of spread of the virus, and consider the measures counterproductive , because bar customers are now more than ten at home in the evening, due to the closure of their favorite café.