Last week police had to intervene and close the square because of the large numbers of students that had gathered and were failing to socially distance. Ghent is one of Flanders’ largest university towns with numerous colleges of advanced education too. The city wants its students to be able to enjoy their time in Ghent in safe conditions.
It was student organisations that requested the circles. Burgomaster Mathias De Clercq (Flemish liberal) thinks it’s a good idea. “Most students stick to the rules. We want to trust their ability to gather in a safe way in small groups. It’s up to students to show that they can act responsibly.”
City cabinet member for youth Elke Decruynaere (Flemish green): “We trust our students. They are having a hard time. We will continue to dialogue with them to work out what is possible and what can be done safely.”
A hundred chalk circles are planned for the St Peter’s Square. Each has a diameter of six metres and can accommodate four individuals. Circles too will socially distance with four metres in between.