Since last Saturday bars, cafés and restaurants have (under conditions laid out in a protocol) been able to reopen their pavement terraces and (beer) garden to receive diners at drinkers. From Wednesday 9 June they will be able to reopen their indoor facilities again, albeit under conditions similar to those that were in force last summer.
In addition to the hospitality industry, 9 June will see the reopening of other facilities such as cinemas, public saunas, gyms and fitness centres. All of these have been closed for many months and have been given financial support from the Flemish authorities to help see them through.
This financial support was to compensate them for their enforced closure. However, 9 June is a game-changer and the businesses mentioned above will no longer be forced to closed. Consequently, Mr Diependaele says that the financial support from the Flemish authorities to these businesses will cease from 9 June.
The Flemish Finance Minister says that it can’t be the aim of the Flemish Government to keep companies afloat that aren’t able to stand on their own two feet.
"This is a perfectly normal way of doing things and it is unfortunate for those that are in this kind of situation. But companies that in normal economic conditions are not able to survive, can’t be kept alive with public funding. I am not going to deny that there are difficult times ahead”, Mr Diependaele told VRT News.