Belgium frustrated by Dutch day trippers
The wave of Dutch day trippers going to Belgium to escape the lockdown in the Netherlands is leading to annoyance and frustration among Belgians. Antwerp governor Cathy Berx said on the radio program De Wereld the Dutch tourists were not showing much solidarity.
On Monday, it was busy on the roads from the Netherlands to Belgium. Many people seemed to want to take advantage of the fact that shops and cafes are still open. The Royal Dutch Touring Club ANWB reported extra traffic on the roads around Breda towards Antwerp on Tuesday morning.
Berx acknowledged that no legal measures can be taken to limit the number of Dutch day-trippers. Prime Minister Mark Rutte had already called on Dutch people not to travel to their southern neighbor or Germany unless it is absolutely necessary. "I would think that would have a lot more impact than the governor of Antwerp making such an appeal," Berx said.
According to Het Nieuwsblad, the Belgian Marc van Ranst said that shoppers in the Netherlands could ultimately burden the Belgian healthcare system.
According to the newspaper, Van Ranst stated that traveling to Belgium should not be encouraged. "On the other hand, we should not fear that they will suddenly bring the Omicron variant here en masse because we have just as many cases. But we must keep it within limits. I also remember we did the same when the terraces were open in the Netherlands but not in Belgium."
Reporting by ANP