“Ostend was a disaster today, both on the beach and in the station.” Marc Van Ranst did not spare his criticism after images were shared on social media of the large crowds in Ostend station. Afterwards, the virologist removed his Twitter message and replaced it with the more nuanced one: “It won’t work like that, friends.” According to Mayor Bart Tommelein, the police should take stricter action against young people who do not wear their mask.
Van Ranst spoke directly to Ostend tourists last night after images were spread from an overcrowded station. People were (much) too close together and there was chaos because there was a problem with some trains. “Dear tourists, Ostend was a disaster today, both on the beach and in the station. You can forget about the coronavirus, but don’t forget about the coronavirus. In this way we are all back in our room with a complete lockdown on our bermuda shorts! It also seemed very busy on the beach in many photos, despite the reservation system that Mayor Bart Tommelein had started. Later Van Ranst removed the twitter message and shared some images again with the text: “It won’t work like that, friends.”
According to Bart Tommelein, the busy day with many tourists in Ostend went quite well. Only in the end did things go wrong. “This is Murphy,” says Tommelein about the problems with the train. “As a city, we can do little about that.” Tommelein wants to consult with federal mobility minister François Bellot about an emergency plan for unforeseen circumstances.
Audience of the major cities
But otherwise everything went pretty well, according to the mayor, although the mouth mask obligation sometimes caused problems. “I’m worried about the big city crowd getting on the trains and coming to our city. I don’t want to keep everyone away, because it can be well controlled, but if you are with groups of young people who do not want to follow the rules and make it a day where they break the rules as much as possible, you will of course have problems. ”
There have been no major incidents, but according to Tommelein there are young people, “especially from the Brussels region”, who ignore the guidelines in Ostend. “They know that there is a mouth mask obligation, because they have mouth masks, but they challenge,” said the mayor. “If you then get such a situation that the trains cannot leave, you are powerless. But we cannot control that. I cannot determine who does and who does not enter Ostend. ”