Clubs in Brussels plan to reopen, regardless of whether they have permission and with normal running times, on 18th February. Flanders and Wallonia venues have also signed up to take part.
The sector has been united by the Brussels By Night Federation, which represents nightlife in the Belgian capital. A decision has been made following a recent Consultative Committee meeting in which there was no discussion on the immediate future of nightlife.
Another review of current restrictions is expected tomorrow, Friday 11th February, but if no firm date is given for an official reopening venues are now prepared to take matters into their own hands. Since the pandemic began in early 2020, only a brief window has been allowed for clubs to operate in Belgium, during autumn 2021.
"We cooperated: first for two weeks, then for a few months and finally we closed for two years, but enough is enough,” the Federation's Lorenzo Serra told the website Bruzz, citing insufficient financial support offered by the government during the crisis, while suggesting the proposal to reopen without authorisation had widespread support in the industry.
According to a report by Brussels Times, if the protest goes ahead Belgian clubs intend on following government health guidance, including rapid testing or the use of Covid Safe Ticket (CST) systems.
At the time of writing, clubs have already reopened a number of other EU countries with government consent, including Ireland, Denmark, France and Spain, with venues also operating across the UK, where England was the first to give the green light. Elsewhere, a protest reopening is taking place in the Netherlands this weekend, where venues remain officially closed, with police unions publicly announcing they will not take action against those participating.