Crowds of Belgian shoppers in Dutch border towns upset locals

The Dutch authorities are taking action after Belgians flooded across the border in droves on Saturday after the corona emergency closed non-food shops across Belgium, a measure that applies at the weekends until 3 April.  

Border towns like Sluis, Terneuzen and Hulst were a favourite destination for many Belgians on Saturday.  Car parks were full and it was busy in shopping streets, bars and pavement cafés.  Several Dutch people turned to social media to vent their anger at what they see as irresponsible behaviour by Belgians.

In Zeeland, a Dutch province bordering Belgium, the authorities are ready to take action against gatherings of over 99 people.  Terneuzen Mayor Jan Lonnink: “It’s a measure that applies to restaurants, shops and other hospitality industry outlets.”

The mayor of border town Sluis decided to close public car parks.

“We’re giving a clear signal: people stay at home” says Mayor Marga Vermue-Vermue.

Later a decision was taken to close all businesses in Sluis today Sunday.

Belgian interior minister De Crem, who earlier condemned parties held on the eve of the closure of Belgian pubs, disapproves of the cross-border trips by Belgians: “The virus won’t stop at the border” he said.

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