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Brussels extends area in which drinking alcohol on the streets is banned

From 5 October the consumption of alcoholic beverages on the street will be banned on the streets of much of Brussels City Centre. From then the only places in which al fresco boozing will be allowed is on the pavement terraces of bars and restaurants and at organised events such as the annual Christmas market. A ban street drinking is already in force from midnight until 6am in the pedestrianised are in downtown Brussels.

This is now being extended to cover the Alhambra area (the area around the Royal Flemish Theatre) and the Fish Market (area around the Sint-Katelijne metro station).

The existing ban came into force on 1 February. It is now being extended after complaints of nuisance caused by drink-related anti-social behaviour made to the city authorities by residents. Not only is the area covered by the drinking ban being extended, but from 5 October it will apply around the clock rather than just during the night.

While street drinking is banned it will of course still be possible to buy wine, beer and spirits at the many retail outlets that sell alcoholic beverages in Brussels City Centre. It will also still be possible to enjoy a pint, a glass of wine or another alcoholic drink on a pavement terrace.

Speaking in an interview with the daily ‘La Dernière Heure’ the Mayor of Brussels Philippe Close (Francophone socialist) said. “I hope that this decree doesn’t become the norm in the long term, because I can understand why people want to drink in a park. However, this is now no longer possible. The amount of nuisance caused by alcohol use in these two areas had become unbearable for residents”.

Opposition councillor Bianca Debaets (Flemish Chrisan democrat) told VRT News that she supports the Mayor’s decision to expand and extend the alcohol ban. "It is the case that we see that in a number of areas such as around the Stock Exchange (photo above) there is a bad situation with regard to public order and security. There are a lot of people with an alcohol addiction that are also homeless there and they disturb public order. This is very difficult to co-exist with. There was already a ban and it is now been extended at the request of many traders and people that live there”.

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