Backlash against French ‘visit Belgium without health pass’ article

The news article listed the top five places to go in Belgium that do not require a health pass, but social media users hit back, saying “you can keep your anti-vaxxers in France”

9 August 2021
Border between France and Belgium - Road sign. Backlash against French ‘visit Belgium without health pass’ article

The article has sparked backlash from people in Belgium who fear it could cause non-vaccinated people from France to travel into the country Pic: Defotoberg / Shutterstock

By Hannah Thompson

A French news article on the ‘best places to visit in Belgium that do not require a health pass’ has sparked an online backlash in the country.

An article by the Lille edition of 20 Minutes entitled ‘Le Top 5 des escapades en Belgique sans pass sanitaire’ (The top 5 escapes in Belgium you can go without a health pass) advised people in the area that they could visit a range of attractions and natural spaces in the northern country without a health pass.

A health pass is not mandatory in Belgium, in contrast to France.

These include the Zwin adventure park, Aquapark-Bellewaerde, and the Han caves. 

This is in contrast to similar attractions in France, which have required a valid health pass for entry since July 21.

The article also said that there are no checks on travellers between France and Belgium, implicitly encouraging people in France living near the border to cross countries to escape the rules.

But the piece has sparked backlash online, with internet users in Belgium fearing that it could encourage non-vaccinated people to enter Belgium and spread the virus.

Comments online include: “You can keep your anti-vaxxers, thank you”, and “Please keep your toxic rubbish at home”.

Some sought to remind people that “the Belgian authorities recommend that people limit their cross-country travel”. 

One user dryly suggested that if people cross the border from France into Belgium, they should visit Heysel, Ronquières, Grâce-Hollogne, and Anvers – which, far from being tourist attractions, are in fact vaccination centres.

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