Ghent“February 18th starts at 12:01 am, so we’re going to party tonight.” They don’t wait a minute longer than necessary in the Overpoortstraat, and they will release all brakes tonight. Whether this is official or not is still unclear. In Ghent, the cafes will not be closed manu militari, and no fines will be issued either. “We will use common sense to maintain public order,” said Mayor Mathias De Clercq (Open Vld).
It is still not clear whether there will be partying this night or not. After all, a week after the press conference about the relaxation, there is still no Royal Decree stating how and what. It seems clear that the government meant ‘from Friday night’, but they clearly understood that differently in the Overpoort. Because February 18 really does start at 00.01, so the cafes will no longer close tonight. The students are eager to finally go out heavy, it will be a hot night there in the Overpoort anyway. Other Ghent cafés will no longer apply the closing time of midnight tonight. And let the city of Ghent continue.
“Until now it is unclear when code orange will take effect, I still have not seen a new Royal Decree,” says Mayor Mathias De Clercq. “The reality is that there is partying and dancing tonight in our Overpoort. The students are here. It’s start of second semester. So it will be ‘full house’ in Overpoort. If the cafes have to close at midnight, that means that a mass of people will come out on the street and that the parties will continue in the public domain or in the student flat, with all the inconvenience that entails. In any case, the police have a strong presence in the Overpoort to ensure that everything runs smoothly and that everyone has a safe and pleasant evening. They will estimate tonight what is opportune. If all the student cafes are still full at midnight, then evacuation is very difficult, and you risk serious conflict situations. We will therefore take a pragmatic approach here and use our common sense, in order to safeguard public order. That is ultimately my job as mayor. If not, we risk a very noisy night and we especially want to provide everyone with a safe and pleasant first night out and night in Ghent.”
Take a look at the decisions of the Consultation Committee below:
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