Bart De Wever will certainly not enforce the mouth mask obligation in the city of Antwerp until next Wednesday, unless in busy places. The reason, according to De Wever, is the heat wave. The Antwerp mayor seems to be going against Governor Cathy Berx who announced at a press conference on Friday that the enforcement of the curfew will be temporarily dropped, but that the mouth mask obligation will continue. Cathy Berx is ‘not amused’ with the different interpretation that De Wever gives to the meeting.
“The correct wearing of nose masks in public space and any private but publicly accessible place remains the rule.” That is what it literally said in Governor Cathy Berx’s press release Friday afternoon. In it, she announced that the curfew will not be enforced during the heat wave, in order to make it more bearable for the residents of the city. However, the mouth mask obligation and the closing time of the catering establishments remain untouched.
The decision of the provincial governor comes after previous consultation with the mayors, including Antwerp mayor Bart De Wever. He urged Berx to take more flexible measures during these sweltering days. “Today I was in contact with the governor to deal more flexibly and humanely with the provincial guidelines on mouth mask duty and nighttime presence on the public domain. The governor has taken this into account, ”says De Wever via his spokesman.
However, they both seem to have drawn different conclusions from that consultation, because where Berx says that there will be no relaxation of the mouth mask obligation, De Wever says that he will only have it maintained up to and including Wednesday in busy places. “I would like to emphasize that the police will strictly monitor the wearing of a mask in busy places and avoid large groups gathering at night in the public domain,” says De Wever.
“I demand responsibility from everyone. The temporary relaxation of the measures for the heat wave is no reason whatsoever to deal more flexibly with the necessary mouth mask obligation in busy places, the distance rules or the avoidance of larger groups, ”says De Wever.
Berx: “Not sensible from De Wever”
Antwerp governor Cathy Berx regrets the position of Antwerp mayor De Wever on compliance with the mouth masks.
“I don’t think it’s wise what the mayor says now. What does he mean by busy places? This leaves room for interpretation and is subjective ”, says Berx. “People will argue with each other about what is busy right now and whether a mouth mask should be worn or not. A super-spreader of the coronavirus can pass several groups of five people and never feel like he or she was in a crowded place. What mayor De Wever is doing now causes confusion and that is a shame. I take note of it. I urge everyone to at least stay away from busy places. ”