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Brussels plans to extend ban on alcohol in public spaces until October 2024

08:39 03/10/2023

The City of Brussels is planning to extend its ban on drinking alcohol in public spaces by one year until October 2024, reports RTBF.

This restriction concerns all pedestrian areas in the city centre, stretching towards Place Sainctelette, Place Sainte-Catherine, Marché aux Porcs and Quai du Commerce.

The city’s objective is to reduce the number of public order disturbances. First introduced as a night-time ban in spring 2020, the measure was tightened in October 2023. The number of offences has dropped over the past 12 months. Police filed 297 reports (compared to 267 between 2021 and 2022), an average of 20 per month.

For city mayor Philippe Close (PS), the figures required a different analysis. “Obviously, we have more fines in July and August,” he said, referring to the city’s busy programme of summer activities in the city centre and the weather being more conducive to going out. “But if the police are more proactive, these numbers will also increase.”

A recent police report noted a "resurgence in citizen complaints in view of recurring disturbances to public order and public tranquility" in places such as Quai au Foin, the areas around the Vismet restaurant, Marguerite Duras park, Place Fontainas and the Bourse and De Brouckère.

It highlighted "the regular presence of people wandering, often congregating at various fixed points of the aforementioned streets in order to indulge in the consumption of alcohol and/or narcotics to the point of being in an inebriated state.”

Close said that the objective of the ban was “to target people who cause problems” and that repression remained necessary. “Unfortunately, there are people who only understand receiving an administrative fine”, maximum €350.

The mayor, who presented his plan for a one-year extension at the municipal council, does not plan to expand the perimeter of the ban. "The neighborhoods where the problems arise are those targeted by the ban order. Everything happens in places located within a radius of 500 meters. We do not see large movements in other areas, towards the Marolles for example. If we widen the perimeter, we would not be able to target our actions."

It's worth recalling that the consumption of alcoholic beverages is permitted on authorised terraces and as part of any commercial, festive or sporting event authorised or organised by the city.

Written by The Bulletin