"Wear a mouth mask everywhere": which towns and cities are taking it one step further, and what about Brussels?

Different municipalities are introducing different rules for face masks outdoor. Some are going far, making it mandatory on the whole territory whenever you leave your home. These local measures are being added to the existing general (federal) measures as announced yesterday. Avoid a fine and be prepared in a number of places - the text below just lists a number of examples. 

In West Flanders, the coastal resort of Knokke-Heist wants to keep it simple: wearing a mouth mask will be a general obligation everywhere, whether it's a busy place or not. The only exception is when you are cycling, jogging or doing another sport. "We will install road signs where people enter our municipality.: "Mouth masks mandatory everywhere"", says Mayor Leopold Lippens. The same obligation applies in Kortrijk and Ostend, where you will have to cover your mouth and nose as soon as you leave your home. In Bruges, a general obligation has been installed for the whole inner city, not just the busy streets. 

Still in West Flanders, the governor announced that mouth masks have to be worn on all seafronts along the Belgian coast. This is to make it a general rule, and to avoid confusion. 

In East Flanders, various towns and municipalities are introducing similar rules. Deinze, south-west of Ghent, issues an obligation for each urban area. The police zone Oudenaarde/Kruisem/Kluisbergen/Wortegem-Petegem, which includes 60,000 local residents, is going further, making a face covering obligatory whenever you leave your home. An exception is made for cyclists. The area has relatively few infections and wants to keep it that way. "In this way, it is clear, and my people understand it", says Oudenaarde Mayor Marnic De Meulemeester.

The East-Flemish capital of Ghent only targets the city's main shopping streets, and coverings will have to be worn at all kinds of events, big and small. 

In Flemish Brabant, Leuven has decided to go for a large part of the historic centre, shopping areas and the city park. Even cyclists will have to wear a mask. Halle and Diest are taking similar initiatives. In Limburg, the cities of Hasselt, Tongeren, Sint-Truiden and Genk all introduced a general obligation for the whole inner city. The same goes for the Antwerp cities of Lier and Mechelen. The city of Antwerp is still thinking about a targeted approach. 

What about Brussels?

The capital is making face coverings mandatory in a large area in the centre: the whole pedestrian area around the historic market square (Grote Markt/Grand Place), but also in the Nieuwstraat and the Maria-Christinastraat in Laken. This was announced by Mayor Philippe Close.

The duty will apply at all times, whether it's busy or not. However, fines will only be imposed as from Monday, as the city has to take some administrative steps first. In next days, police will focus on awareness initiatives. 

Outside there areas listed above, the general rules imposed by the federal authorities will apply. So stay alert, as a fine will set you back 250 euros. 

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