“Sorry, strictly no fun-shopping!”

Belgian health minister Frank Vandenbroucke (Flemish socialist) has urged the mayors of Belgian border town municipalities to be vigilant now that the Dutch government has closed non-essential stores.  Mr Vandenbroucke says that the people of the Netherlands should be aware that fun-shopping in Belgium at the minute is not permitted.

Mr Vandenbroucke is worried by the new rise in corona figures in Belgium and holds out the prospect of additional measures to ensure that people follow basic rules.  The health minister isn’t hinting that Belgium will now follow the Netherlands in a new, hard lockdown: “In Belgium we have chosen for stability.  We are not in a hard lockdown.  We’ve been maintaining the same measures since October. We’re not yoyoing like in the Netherlands. But that means that we will have to keep this softer approach for longer.”

The minister is troubled by the new Dutch lockdown and calls for European agreement: “We must act in unison” he says while preparing to meet his Dutch counterpart.

Mr Vandenbroucke believes Belgium’s controlled opening of non-essential stores is tenable, but the balance can’t be disturbed by Dutch shoppers, who come shopping in Belgium en masse.

He says Dutch people should know there’s no fun-shopping in Belgium.  Shops visits last 30 minutes tops and access to shopping streets is controlled.

PM Alexander De Croo (Flemish liberal) called his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte this morning to discuss the corona crisis.  PM De Croo reminded the Dutch PM that fun-shopping wasn’t allowed in Belgium.



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