On 7 May 2020 the following story appeared in a number of Flemish newspapers.
Nobody wants to go back to her second stay on the coast as soon as Linda from Maasmechelen. She now drives 400 kilometres to and from her work in Diksmuide every day.
Linda has been working in the Absolute Jobs temporary employment agency in Diksmuide since the beginning of this year. She rents an apartment in Koksijde but her residence is still with her parents in Maasmechelen. When the Security Council decided that the companies could reopen, Linda was also told by her boss that she is expected at the office.
“I didn’t think that was a problem,” Linda said. Or at least: second-in-command is not welcome at the coast since the lockdown.
“I already e-mailed the governor of West Flanders: can’t an exception be made for people like me who rent on the coast because they work there? But the answer unfortunately was that I’m not allowed to sleep in my apartment. So I have to drive more than 400 kilometres every day. That will be fun rides. Good for the environment too,” sighs Linda cynically.
The governor advises Linda to stay in a hotel. After all, they are allowed to stay open for guests who make an essential journey. But Linda finds that absurd. “Then I’ll be in contact with other people in the same building, won’t I? I have a perfect little apartment, just for myself, for which I already pay 600 euros a month. And then I’d have to pay for a hotel room?”