Brussels toughens coronavirus restrictions

A curfew in Brussels will be extended, cultural and sports venues will close and masks will be obligatory in all public spaces under tougher measures agreed by regional authorities Saturday to curb surging coronavirus cases.

“The situation is very serious, it cannot remain this way,” Rudi Vervoort, premier of the Brussels region, told a press conference. He called on people to support the new measures because “we won’t get out of this if what we decide today doesn’t have broad public support.”

The new rules come into force on Monday and are due to last until November 19 and will apply in all 19 municipalities of the region. Brussels, together with the nearby region of Wallonia, recently posted the highest infection rate per capita in Europe, according to a leading virologist.

Under the new rules, the curfew will now run from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., rather than midnight to 5 a.m. Public gatherings will be limited to four people. Shops will have to close by 8 p.m. and takeaway restaurants by 10 p.m. Sports venues that will have to close include gyms and swimming pools while the shutdown of the cultural sector will include museums and exhibitions, officials said.

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