After a lot of uncertainty, the decision has been made: all events of the City of Ghent itself are cancelled. Sinterklaas will not make an appearance on Sunday, and the Winterfeesten, the end-of-year fireworks and the New Year’s reception will be cancelled.
The decision has nevertheless been made. The city council is canceling all events that the city itself organizes, and where it feels that safety cannot be guaranteed. This means that the Christmas market, which was to start construction on Wednesday, will no longer take place.
On Saturday afternoon, there was a crisis meeting between the city and the medical experts. The infection rates are currently very high in Ghent, and the hospitals have to take in more and more corona patients, while the staff themselves are out.
“The situation is very serious,” said Mayor Mathias De Clercq (Open VLD). “The numbers are clear. Our medical experts emphasize the importance of avoiding as many contacts as possible. We absolutely must take our precautions. If we estimate that it cannot be done safely, then better not.”
No Sinterklaas and no fireworks
Instead of the Winterfeesten, there will be an ice rink with a winter bar. They can be closed to check for the covid safe ticket. Closing the entire Christmas market turned out to be practically unfeasible. The fireworks on New Year’s Eve and the New Year’s reception are also canceled for that reason.
The city council remains behind its decision to let the Light Festival continue. “That was also discussed with the medical experts. At these events, people stay much closer to each other. There is also eating and drinking, which makes mouth masks more difficult.”
The decision not to allow the arrival of Sinterklaas last minute to take place is mainly motivated by the young public. Children do not have a covid safe ticket, and the youngest should not wear a mouth mask either.
“As a result, safety cannot be guaranteed now that the number of infections among children is also rising rapidly. In the interest of keeping the schools open, the Ghent crisis cell has decided that it is better not to continue.”