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Brussels to strengthen coronavirus restrictions from Monday

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Bars and cafés in Brussels will have to close at 11 p.m. from Monday as part of a new set of measures against coronavirus announced by local authorities on Saturday.

The rule does not apply to restaurants, but all shops selling food or drink will have to close at 10 p.m. Food consumption will be prohibited in open-air markets. A ban on gatherings of 10 or more people between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. remains, with extra controls to be put in place to ensure the rules are followed.

Last week, Belgian authorities announced an easing of coronavirus prevention measures, including no longer mandating masks in most outdoor places. The new rules for Brussels do not override those measures, with face masks only to be worn in busy areas such as near schools or commercial zones and places where social distancing is impossible.

The new measures will apply for three weeks, although an evaluation meeting is scheduled for October 6.

The news comes after a crisis meeting on Saturday with the city’s mayors, local governors and health authorities, Le Soir reported. The number of cases in the city is among the highest in the country with 2,353 new cases last week.

With 110,976 cases of COVID-19 and 9,969 deaths, Belgium has one of the highest coronavirus mortality rates in Europe.

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