Things went seriously wrong last Friday.

Ostend works out plan with Belgian Rail to avoid "music festival scenes" in times of corona 

The coastal resort of Oostende has negotiated a plan with the Belgian Rail company NMBS to avoid big crowds in the station area. 

Last Friday, a big number of returning day-trippers stranded in the station building in Ostend after the train schedule got disrupted due a technical problem. Ostend Mayor Bart Tommelein said the scenes of big crowds of people standing close together reminded him of "a music festival", scenes which should be avoided at all cost in times of corona. 

Bart Tommelein first asked the NMBS to introduce a system with reservations for train tickets, but the NMBS said that this was not possible. Other measures have been agreed now: fences will be installed in the big open space in front of the station and in the station itself.

In the station, passengers will have to choose the right corridor depending on their destination: Antwerp, Kortrijk or Brussels/Eupen.

Once these spaces (the number has been calculated using social distancing rules) have been taken, passengers will have to queue outside on the large square in front of the station. Extra fences will be there to avoid mass gatherings. "Temperatures of 30 degrees and more trigger big crowds here. If measures are being taken at music festivals like Tomorrowland or Rock Werchter, we should at least do the same in Ostend. I am glad we have worked this out", says Tommelein. 

Watch last Friday's chaos in the video below:

Loading video player ...

Top stories