Corona crisis: Belgium closes stores, restaurants and bars

Stock picture: a closed sign in front of a store
Photo: Shutterstock

The Belgian government has issued draconian measures in order to combat the spread of the corona virus. All shops, except those selling food or medicine, must be closed on weekends. Cafés and restaurants must even close completely, and that at least until 3 April. "Without urgent measures, 2020 will be the year of bankruptcies", analysts fear.

 

Shops and restaurants closed

Belgium is banning sports events and cultural activities, closing schools and shutting down all restaurants and pubs for nearly a full month. Shops selling food are allowed remain open, as are pharmacists, but all other shops must be closed on Saturdays - still by far their best day - and Sundays. Still, it is stressed again that hoarding is and remains pointless; supermarkets do remain open.

 

For many retailers, this may turn out to be a real drama. RetailDetail founder, Jorg Snoeck, notes that "Amazon.nl could not have imagined a better launch." Cunning consumers can (for now?) still cross the border for Saturday shopping trips, but Snoeck mainly expects webshops to be the big winners. And what if consumers become accustomed to this and stop shopping offline again after the corona crisis? "2020 may well be the year of bankruptcies"...

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