Radio 2

Corona worries at Menin Gate, Brits still mainly absent

Increasing numbers of tourists are attending the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ieper.  During the lockdown the Last Post was sounded by only one bugler when usually there are three.  Today the authorities are struggling to get people to observe social distancing at the nightly ceremony.

The Menin Gate is a monument to the British and Commonwealth war dead who perished in the Great War and who have no known grave.  Every year it attracts thousands of visitors, especially from the UK.  The corona crisis saw attendance plummet with only one bugler sounding the Last Post out of safety concerns, but now tourists are flocking back amid growing concerns social distancing is not being respected.

The local authorities have erected crush barriers because since tourists were once again admitted on 1 July only 132 people are allowed under the Gate in order to allow for social distancing. Last week a photograph showing how social distancing at the crush barrier was being flouted emerged on social media, though many did wear a covering.

At the minute it’s chiefly Belgian and Dutch tourists who are lodging at the city’s hotels.  A resurgence in UK visitor numbers has yet to materialise.

Radio 2

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