As concerns over the Corona virus pandemics grow all over the world, many people in Belgium turned to social media to raise the awareness of the general public and call for people to stay in their homes in order to prevent the spread of the virus. Hashtags #StayHomeBelgium and #FlattenTheCurve are constantly trending on Twitter. Belgian Government announced this evening that all schools, bars and restaurants must close as of Friday, March 13th at midnight.
Following an amazing increase in Corona virus cases in Italy and all around Europe, drastic measures have been taken in almost all EU countries in order to contain the pandemics. The public in Belgium has been raising questions last few days and pressuring the government to act more quickly. Politico Europe published a very insightful article by Marco Bresolin – Why isn’t Belgium in lockdown?
Users on Twitter have been vocal in their call for #StayHomeBelgium.
Ok, Belgian Twitter. The government’s instructions may be ambiguous, but we don’t have to be. Show your friends and colleagues they don’t have to feel uncomfortable to ask to stay home. Together we can #FlattenTheCurve on #COVID19. Let’s #StayHomeBelgium pic.twitter.com/BgiGLRfI9d— Brett Kobie (@kobiebrett) March 11, 2020
Belgian Government announced the new measures this Thursday evening, during a press conference in Brussels. All schools will be suspended starting Monday. Day cares will be available for health care workers and parents who must work. The measures are in force until the start of the Easter holidays on April 3. Restaurants and bars will also have to close, as well as recreational facilities. Shops will be able to stay open during the week. Pharmacies and grocery stores can stay open whole week.
Belgian government has repeated the former suggestion that all citizens work from home if possible. European Commission has also announced that all of its stuff will work from home as of Monday, 16th of March. Public transport will continue circulation, without restrictions for now. Read more details here.
WHAT IS CLOSED?
– Bars, clubs and restaurants
– All schools
– All cultural & recreational activity (this includes gyms and pools!)
WHAT IS OPEN?
– Grocery stores, pharmacies
– Daycares (mainly for medical staff on duty)
– Public transit
CLOSED WEEKENDS: – All other shops.
However people can still leave their homes, so it isn’t full Italian-style lockdown.— Dave Keating (@DaveKeating) March 12, 2020
But the closure of all bars and restaurants is the most drastic step taken outside of Italy.
Some Twitter users used the opportunity to add a dose of humor in these hard times:
They just ordered all the pubs in Belgium shut.— Dave Clark (@DaveClark_AFP) March 12, 2020
They just ordered all the pubs in *Belgium* shut.
They just ordered all the *pubs* in Belgium shut.
In the meantime, in anticipation of the government decisions, many supermarkets in Brussels have been overwhelmed with customers. Toilet paper and cleaning products were totally emptied from the shelves of many stores.
The feelings of the public can be summed up in the following tweet:
Belgium is quickly going the same way Italy went. This could easily have been contained, and perhaps still can, to a degree, if we start #SocialDistancing. Please #StayHomeBelgium #COVID19BE https://t.co/64D2GbUj2L pic.twitter.com/nZY1KgRWtq— Kirstyn Byrne (@KirstynByrne) March 12, 2020