It’s busy in the Nieuwstraat

The reopening of non-essential stores hasn’t led to large crowds in shopping streets across the country, but in places like the Nieuwstraat in Brussels it is busy. One of the entrance routes into the Nieuwstraat has been closed.  Municipal authorities have acted in many places to make sure it doesn’t get too crowded. A real test is expected on Saturday in cities like Antwerp and Leuven.

The retailers’ federation Comeos says it’s busier than a routine Tuesday, though nowhere are there large crowds.  “Shoppers and staff are respecting the safety rules everywhere. No problems have been reported” says Hans Cardyn of Comeos.

After a slow start queues formed outside chains like C&A and Primark in the Brussels Nieuwstraat around 1PM.  Around this time, as a precaution, shoppers coming from the Muntplein were prevented from entering the street from that direction. Shoppers who were determined to shop in the Nieuwstraat had to use side streets or the Rogierplein entrance.

The city authorities are keeping tabs on numbers in the Nieuwstraat.  Extra stewards and police are present.  Shoppers are obliged to stick to one-way lanes.

It’s a similar story on the Bondgenotenlaan in Leuven.  Mayor Mohamed Ridouani (socialist): “That should be no surprise on a wet Tuesday.  It gives retailers and the city authorities an opportunity for a smooth start.  Like in all main cities the test will come on Saturday. We are well prepared and will monitor everything and close parts of the city if need be.”

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