As expected from last spring, here in Brussels we are again in lockdown.
Governments around the Continents indeed try to call it “partial lockdown”, but it is difficult to seriously see many differences from what we had last spring across Europe.
What we are about to experience again from this week it’s very close to the previous lockdown.
In the heart of the European Capital, the situation has always been among the worst in the whole continent.
The main factor of the previous situation is that the city of Brussels, being a nerve Center in Europe and the seat of the European Parliament and NATO, creates a bustle of people from every corner of Europe every day.
People who import (and export) a Virus that is still not clear when it can be safely tamed and controlled.
In recent months Brussels had tried to reopen the doors to everyday life.
Businesses in the government facilities had resumed, and shops, restaurants and bars had reopened their doors to their customers.
Not everything went as planned and hoped for.
First of all, like all “big cities”, the tourist flows had been reduced to a minimum.
The City Center and the splendid “Grand Place” (also known as “Grote Markt”), surrounded by elegant buildings that have a story starting in the fourteenth century was practically empty.
Anyone who has been to Brussels in previous years knows what an adventure it has always been to cross this central square.
Walk the adjacent streets, with thousands of people trying to extricate themselves from the crowd as been always a challenge.
The restaurants in the area around the square, which serve excellent beer to wash down large portions of mussels and fries, were always crowded and finding a free table has always been difficult.
Well, this was not a problem in recent months, given the total lack of people.
What you found in recent months visiting the city Center was an almost deserted Central Square and restaurants practically all closed due to lack of customers.
There were no tourists, it is true, but also the local citizens were careful not to spend time in the Historical Center where theatres and cinemas were still closed.
A phenomenon that we have observed in all European capitals this summer.
The social and economic life of the big cities has migrated to other areas.
Areas that in the past years have suffered from the centralism of the capitals and their financial centrality.
In the past few weeks, life seemed to return to normal in these areas of Brussels.
A mask it is also required to walk on the sidewalks of the neighbourhood.
Still, restaurants and bars were always busy and finding a table without a reservation was once again the norm in these areas.
The city had a lousy backlash last week.
The number of cases with Covid-19 in the city has increased exponentially in the last ten days. The hospitals began to feel the weight of the new hospitalizations.
The terror of reliving the massacre of March and April took away the sleep of those who had responsibility in the city.
Winter hasn’t arrived yet, not even “winter time “is among us.
The fear of the flu cycle, which could have dramatic consequences associated with Covid-19, has forced Government and Science to sit down at a table and make a decision.
A complete lockdown is unthinkable to face, but nobody wants to meet this challenge and all the consequent riskier. Since yesterday (Monday), Restaurants, Bars and coffee shops have had to close again.
For the next four weeks, no chance of a lunch or dinner, but not even a coffee, away from home.
The city slows down to fight the virus present again in our streets.
Brussels goes to bed early, and after midnight you need an excellent reason to be out and about.
No gathering is allowed, not in the street or at home.
We return to a kind of lockdown, but the shops are open in the morning, and the offices try to work.
The European Parliament Building and NATO continue to stay open.
No restaurant service is active inside them, and the staff must bring their own food and have a meal in their office.
They try to keep everything open, but restrictions in Europe begin to deny a large part of the staff who cannot travel without having to undergo quarantine before returning to work.
The next four weeks will be essential to hope not to miss Christmas.
However, it is almost inevitable, given that the vaccine is still far from materializing, that after Christmas, as long as this is saved, the situation could become severe.
So will be no surprise if from the end of January we will start to talk about a lockdown-3.
It is more than conceivable to predict such an event.
Winter is long, and to be honest as well as realistic, it hasn’t even begun, outside still Autumn.
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