Simultaneous with the easing of travel restrictions on certain non-EU countries on 1 July 2020, the Last Post Association has been given permission to allow a limited number of public attendees at the nightly Ceremony. According to a news release on the Association’s website, https://lastpost.be, “Numbers will, however, be limited to a maximum of 132 people each evening and strict social distancing of 1.5 metres will be enforced under the Menin Gate. Controlled entrance to the memorial will be possible from 1930 hours onwards. The reservation of places in advance is not possible.” The announcement adds that the 1 July 2020 ceremony will be attended by the Burgomaster of Ypres, a director of the Commonwealth War Graves Association and ambassadors from Canada and New Zealand. Readers can watch a livestream of today’s ceremony on the Facebook Last Post Ieper Page.
As Belgium dealt with the pandemic, the public was excluded from the Ceremony as of 14 March 2020. The number of buglers was reduced to one as of 18 March, but it was increased to three on 11 May.
According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control COVID-19 situation update as of 1 July 2020 Belgium ranks third in reported cases per 100,000 (538.5) and first in reported deaths per 100,000 (85.4.) Hence the reason for limited public participation.
#kneedeepintohistory #meuseargonne #battlefieldtours #ww1tours #ww2tours