Beer and chocolate shops deemed ‘essential’ during lockdown in Belgium

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Belgium classified beer and chocolate shops as ‘essential’ during its coronavirus lockdowns.

They were allowed to stay open while other shops deemed non essential had to shut as the country battled Covid-19 infections.

The Belgian government defined booze and sweet treats as essential food items as it introduced strict restrictions.

Ignace Van Doorselaere, the boss of chocolate firm Neuhaus, told Sky News : “Chocolate is part of the culture of this country, so it's essential because it's part of your daily life, like beer is or like wine would be in France.

“And it's a joyful product. Chocolate symbolises joy. I know very few people who don't like chocolate.”

He said the company was fortune to be in the food industry and believes it will survive 2020, despite a big fall in trade.

The country has more than 2,000 chocolatiers.

Shops selling beer were also allowed to stay open during lockdown.

Michael Eftekhari, who founded Beer Mania – the world’s first beer shop in the world – said trade had plunged by 90%.

But his online shop saved him as he shipped beer to countries around the world, he told Sky News.

  • 'Tier 5' fears rise as Matt Hancock to announce latest changes to lockdown tomorrow

It allowed them to keep “our heads above water”, he added.

He described beer as being part of the country’s culture, which he hopes will allow the firm to survive.

Figures show Belgium has seen more than 630,000 confirmed cases since the beginning of the crisis.

Earlier this month, a ‘superspreader’ Santa Claus was accused of causing a Covid outbreak at a care home in Mol, Antwerp in Belgium.

He tested positive after visiting the care home.

  • Coronavirus
  • Lockdown

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