Many Belgians flocked to the coastal beaches on August 8, 2020 because of the heatwave, as here in Ostend. - ERIC LALMAND / BELGA / AFP
The strengthening of anti-Covid measures continues. Several Flemish towns and seaside resorts on the Belgian coast announced on Sunday the ban on "day tourists" during the heat wave after incidents caused by non-compliance with measures against the pandemic.
The municipalities of Knokke-Heist and Blankenberge took this decision to "guarantee public security", their city officials said. Several people were arrested on Saturday in Blankenberge after clashes between groups of holidaymakers on the beach.
"We are trying to restore calm"
A group of young people have been ordered to leave the beach after refusing to respect the security measures imposed against the pandemic. A fight broke out between vacationers and turned into a riot with the intervention of the police. In images filmed by witnesses and broadcast on social networks, we can see umbrellas thrown by young people against the police on the beach.
The troublemakers arrested were banned from staying in the town and day tourism was banned. "We need a time out", explained the mayor of the city, Daphné Dumery. “Anyone who comes to Blankenberge must have a valid reason for going there. With this measure, we are trying to restore calm, ”she stressed.
Controls put in place this Sunday
The municipality of Knokke took a similar order following "dozens of incidents, both during the day and at night," said a statement. The municipal council therefore “felt obliged to take drastic measures. To guarantee public safety, day tourists will no longer be able to go to the seaside resort.
Controls will be in place from Sunday at the entrances to the town and newcomers will have to have "proof" to justify their coming: to live in the town, stay in a rental or hotel, work there. “All vehicles will be checked. Anyone who has no valid reason to be in Knokke will have to turn around immediately, ”the elected officials warned.
Ostend also protests
The SNCB informed the passengers of the trains bound for the Belgian coast of the measures decided by the authorities of Blankenberge and Knokke to "check if their destination is authorized". The Belgians rushed to the coast on Saturday in search of coolness as temperatures exceeded 35 ° C.
The city of Ostend has joined forces with the two seaside resorts to ask SNCB to no longer provide additional trains to the coast. “On Saturday, the trains arrived on the coast, 115% full. This is not responsible, ”protested the governor of the province in a statement. “Police will strictly monitor all coastal towns to ensure they follow all guidelines. Violators will be severely punished, ”he warned.
Belgium is, like France, affected by a heat wave expected over several days with temperatures above 35 °.
Coronavirus: Belgium hardens its measures in the face of the increase in cases
- Covid 19