Belgium reverses COVID cultural rules: The show must go on!

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Belgian authorities have allowed the reopening of cinemas, cinemas and concert halls

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BRUSSELS – Belgium on Wednesday reversed some of its COVID-19 restrictions, allowing theatres, cinemas and concert halls to reopen.

The move was a victory for the culture sector, which said it was being unfairly targeted by the regulations.

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Pressure had mounted on the Belgian government and regional authorities to undo last week’s shutdown decision, which was also not supported by scientific experts. It exposed widespread mismanagement among officials trying to keep the pandemic at bay with on-the-spot decisions and a public increasingly frustrated with the limits of their personal liberties.

“We have heeded the call of the cultural sector,” said Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden.

There was an atmosphere of happiness in the theatres.

“We are thrilled that we resisted and in the end we won what we started with,” said Peggy Foll, director of Vendme Cinema in the city of Brussels. “We were disgusted that they attacked culture like this.”

The decision came after protests by thousands of people from the theater sector and a legal appeal in the Council of State on Sunday. Even though the court’s decision was only concerned with theater halls, the government extended it to cinema halls as well.

Now, they will be able to open up to 200 people depending on the size of the room. Wearing a face mask and having a COVID-19 pass will be mandatory.

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