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Police to get tougher on rule-breaking bars as week wears on

18:33 16/06/2020

Brussels police are “choosing to remind rather than repress” bar owners and staff when it comes to the regulations to limit the spread of the Covid-19 virus. But this lenient attitude “is temporary,” according to the South police zone.

The North police zone, meanwhile, only handed out eight fines at the weekend for not following coronavirus regulations, a spokesperson told Bruzz. The regulations don’t allow customers to order at the bar, for instance, require tables to be 1.5 metres apart and require all staff to wear a facemask. Bars must close at 1.00.

“We are not going to carry out a witch hunt, looking for the littlest offence,” a spokesperson for the Brussels-City-Ixelles police zone told the new source. “If a patrol sees that someone isn’t wearing a facemask or that social distancing isn’t being respected, then we opt for issuing a warning.”

Keeping the party going

Over in the Montgomery police zone, which includes Etterbeek and the Woluwes, no fines whatsoever have been handed out since bars were allowed to re-open on 8 June. “What we do see are more complaints about noise nuisance at night,” said spokesperson Wout Monteyne. “If the bars shut at 1.00, people continue to party outside.”

This phenomenon was also noticed in the South police zone. “Next to bars not shutting on time, that is the biggest problem,” said spokesperson Adeline Roty.

That was also certainly the case in Ixelles yesterday evening, when the Belga café at Flagey closed at 1.00. Everyone took to Place Sainte-Croix for an impromptu dance party.


Social distancing seemed to be the least of their concerns, as evidenced on a few videos popping up on social media. Police showed up to disperse the crowd without handing out any fines.

Roty says that this lax attitude isn’t going to last for much longer. “By the end of the week, we’ll get tougher and hand out more fines,” she said.

Photo ©Dirk Waem/BELGA

Written by Lisa Bradshaw