Belgian carwashes go to court to reopen businesses during corona lockdown
Car washes are essential in car maintenance and should remain open during the corona lockdown in Belgium. That is the position of the Belgian trade organisation BBRV. They went to court get the professional car washes reopened.
The Belgian car washes have been closed since November 2, the reopening is scheduled at December 13 – if all goes well. The closure is part of the corona lockdown. The reason: car washes are “not essential”. However, maintenance of the car is essential according to a Ministerial Decree, so garages, for example, are open. Trade association BBRV also considers car washes essential in maintenance and has taken the case to court. The lawsuit was filed on Thursday, November 19. The verdict is not in yet.
Diederik De Roeck is the owner of the Punto Blu car wash in Beveren and a board member of the BBRV. He explains that the Ministerial Decree stipulates what is or is not possible in the lockdown, which will last until at least December 13. In addition to the Decree, there is an additional list of the types of companies that may or may not remain open. That list includes car washes. “Our position is that the Decree should be leading, and not that additional list,” says De Roeck.
According to De Roeck, the fact that car washes are on the list has everything to do with the many hand car washes that Belgium has. “As far as the risk of contamination is concerned, the entire sector has been looked at and employees run more risks in the hand car washes. That has led to the closure of the entire sector.”
And that is not fair, says De Roeck. The modern car wash works completely corona proof. And then there is the point that cleaning is also important for the maintenance of a vehicle. “And the companies are willing to comply with conditions to ensure a safe opening. Think of closing vacuum cleaner stations or only accepting contactless payments. ”
De Roeck is hopeful that car washes can be reopened before December 13. “The fact that car washes are closed is the subject of national discussion. On November 18, parliamentary questions were even asked about the closure. The answer was that business activities in the car wash might be possible. ”
The fine for companies that are opened is high: 750 euros, plus a personal fine for all people present in the business. “And then there will probably be another lawsuit,” says De Roeck. “The advice from the BBRV is therefore to keep the doors closed until a formal change is made that makes opening possible.”