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The discontent is already running out of steam in Belgium

Threatened with losing all financial support, the cafeterias and restaurateurs will not finally reopen on May 1. The culture sector is holding on.

Threatened with losing all financial support, the cafeterias and restaurateurs will not finally reopen on May 1. The culture sector is holding on.

From our correspondent Max Hellef (Brussels) – May 1, Labor Day but also civil disobedience. It is next Saturday that several dozen restaurateurs and cafetiers threaten to reopen their establishments, in defiance of the legal ban. In their opposition to authority, they sometimes received the support of the mayor of their commune.

But that was before the De Croo government warned: whoever dares to reopen on May 1 will lose the financial support they had until now to get through the lockdown. “I am against civil disobedience and I advise everyone not to respect the law,” said Federal Minister of Middle Classes David Clarinval. On a purely legal level, if Horeca establishments are open on May 1, the gateway right (the monthly financial crisis allowance) no longer applies. Not worth it for a week. “

One week, because the terraces will be authorized to reopen from May 8, as planned by a recent consultation committee. For the De Croo government, these few additional days of closure should make it possible to vaccinate 500,000 other people who will be fewer targets for the virus when the terraces fill up.

In recent days, several bosses of the Horeca have therefore thrown in the towel, indicating that they could not do without public aid. It must be said that the De Croo government has shown itself to be clever: to restore harmony, it has decided on a series of support measures for sectors due to reopen soon, with support amounting to 835 million euros. These arguments seem to have borne and there should be fewer to reopen on Saturday.

A Liège owner sums up the situation in the media: “Mr. Clarinval was there very frankly. We are offered either to express our anger or to feed our family. At some point, we don’t want to be crucified in the public square. There are still people who want to do it. Has the movement run out of steam? Necessarily. “

But, paradoxically, the tightening of the Horeca does not affect Culture, also on the verge of explosion. “I am a legalist, we must respect the rules,” argued the minister responsible for the French-speaking part of the country, the ecologist Bénédicte Linard. But we are in a period of crisis, the cultural world is experiencing unprecedented difficulties. It is out of the question that I withdraw subsidies from cultural operators. “

In Brussels, while indoor performances remain prohibited, the Théâtre de la Toison d’Or confirms the programming of a (only) show this Saturday in compliance with health rules and in front of an audience of 70 people – the room can accommodate three times more. Ditto at Atelier 210, this time with four concerts, from May 1 to 7, for 50 people.

As for the KVS, the Flemish Theater of Brussels which acts as a beacon of disobedience, it will organize test performances based on what is done in Spain and the Netherlands, with the support of the City of Brussels and of Flanders. The audience will first be made up of journalists and professionals, then the average spectators will come. All will need to undergo a rapid antigen test before attending the performance. From this Wednesday, the KVS will welcome 100 people to attend “Jonathan” by Bruno Vanden Broecke and Valentijn Dhaenens. Under the eye of the media who will inevitably watch the reaction of the various authorities of the country.


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