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September 9, 2020, 05.07 PM

But they fear that will whittle down soon, despite the €750 billion ($888 billion) recovery fund that EU recently agreed to.

Read also: EU Leaders Seal the Deal on $2.1 Trillion Coronavirus Recovery Fund

“In the next few months, we will see a lot of places that will go bankrupt. A lot of people will be unemployed,” said Luc Broes, co-owner of the hotel-restaurant Duc de Bourgogne, which overlooks a canal.

Social protection, he said, only goes so far.

“We also have to pay our rent for the building. We also have to pay all the staff. We have to pay the insurances. We have to — we are not protected. At the moment we can’t pay anymore, we will go bankrupt as well," Broes said.

Despite the 19th-century novel “Bruges-La-Morte” ("Bruges, the Dead City") that turned the city into a metaphor of melancholy and decay, there is a steadfast conviction that people can turn this around — that tourism will survive.

A special EU summit in October will examine how to reinvigorate and reform tourism.

Read also: Indonesia Sails Ahead to Restore Tourism Sectors Pre-Covid-19 Glory

Unsure how long the pandemic will last, Bruges has decided to forego any blockbuster exhibits.

Instead, it will center on local artists, including a photographer tasked with showing the solitude that Covid-19 has brought to the city.


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