Saturday 13 August 2022

Antwerp’s governor urges Dutch visitors to stay away during lockdown

Christmas shoppers in Antwerp in 2019. Photo: Depositphotos

The governor of Antwerp has urged Dutch visitors not to go on day trips to the Belgian city to escape the lockdown in the Netherlands.

‘I’m asking Dutch people to grin and bear it,’ Cathy Berx told Belgian TV network VRT. ‘After this they will be very much welcome, but now is not the time to come here.’

Thousands of people from the Netherlands are thought to have travelled across the border on Sunday to go shopping or have a drink in a bar on the first day of a three-week lockdown in their own country.

Cinemas, theatres, museums and hairdressers are among the other venues and businesses that are closed in the Netherlands but still open in Belgium for anyone with a valid QR code.

German authorities have also called on Dutch visitors not to descend en masse on towns across the border. Wolfgang Gebing, mayor of Oberhausen in North Rhine-Westphalia, said the federal government could impose travel restrictions if necessary. ‘But for the moment Dutch people are warmly welcome in our city.’

A spokesman for Oberhausen’s tourist board said December was traditionally a busy month for visitors from the Netherlands. ‘We are seeing Dutch daytrippers now as well, but a lot fewer than before corona,’ he told NOS.

 

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