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Belgian terraces and Greek beaches invite visitors as lockdown measures ease

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By Philip Andrew Churm
Belgian terraces and Greek beaches invite visitors as lockdown measures ease
Copyright  Olivier Matthys/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

Bars and restaurants in Belgium have reopened their outdoor terraces after months of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, people no longer need to observe a curfew or stay indoors at night.

For many in the Belgian capital, Brussels, it was a reason to be happy.

One woman told reporters: “I plan to stay a long time. After the aperitif, we will eat a little bit, enjoy the moment. We have waited too long for this."

A man, who was sitting with friends said: "It's a unique moment, I think. The waiter said he's been here for 10 years and never seen anything like it. It’s really an exceptional opening that is going on. We're happy to be here. "

There are also fewer restriction on activities in the open air but it is the change in rules in the hospitality establishments which allow them to serve people on terraces and pavement cafes that appear to have gathered the most attention.

Manager of Mokafé, Vanessa Charlier, said it is not just about food and drink.

"It is not only the pleasures of the mouth that we find, it is a little taste of freedom and then all this social side that we lacked enormously.

"It's as much the social side - the friendliness - as the pleasure of the mouth."

Meanwhile, beaches have reopened in Greece ahead of the official tourist season on 14 May. But measures including social distancing and hygiene rules remain in place.

Museums will reopen next week and open-air cinemas later in the month.