This year, Saint Nicolas will be different because of the health context. In a letter, Frank Vandenbroucke and Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden remind parents that, until December 13, everyone has the right to only one close contact.
Cn Thursday, Frank Vandenbroucke and Annelies Verlinden sent a letter to Saint-Nicolas, relayed by Sud Presse. The Ministers of Health and the Interior notably announced to the great saint the publication of a ministerial decree to allow him and Father Fouettard to brave the curfew on the night of December 5 to 6 in order to be able to bring gifts to good children.
Frank Vandenbroucke’s letter to Saint Nicholas
Dear Saint Nicholas,
We hear that this damn virus has also created a lot of problems in Spain. So it gave us the greatest pleasure when we learned that, despite your old age, you have been able to escape the virus in recent months and that you are still in good health.
But as you know, dear Saint Nicolas, Spain is in code red. According to the rules, you should therefore stay in quarantine here for a few days when you arrive (tomorrow night have we heard?). However, as we know that you have no time to waste, and that you need every hour to prepare the gifts for each child, we have decided to make an exception – for you and Father Fouquet. The royal decree necessary for this purpose will appear shortly in the Belgian Official Gazette. Here is the legal content: the trip with your boat coming from Spain lasts 17 days, that is 7 days more than what we ask and therefore, this period is more than enough as quarantine.
A second royal decree, still in preparation, concerns the curfew. On the night of December 5 to 6, the curfew will still apply in Belgium. But of course, we also know that under these conditions it would be impossible for you to do your job. In addition, you also need to go and get all the letters and designs in the shoes for the next few weeks. Now, you don’t want to disappoint the kids. And neither do we. From then on, the legal basis for this second royal decree was directly ratified and you will receive – you and Father Fouettard – an exception for the curfew.
And we can reassure you: you won’t have to run from roof to roof in a spacesuit. However, we recommend that you always keep your distance, wash your hands regularly and wear a mask when necessary. With your miter, and your long white beard, it’s probably no fun. In addition, a Spanish virologist also confirmed to us that your beard protects you enough and acts as a mask. But we want to be sure that you are not at risk when visiting Belgium.
One more thing, Saint Nicholas: every child here has been especially brave this year. Or to use your words: very wise. Indeed, it is not easy every day: at school, everything has changed; for now, they can no longer see their boyfriends, they can no longer indulge in their favorite hobbies. Really, really, it’s not cheerful for them. Without forgetting that they cannot even go to be cuddled by grandpa and grandma to be consoled.
But still, they are holding on, dear Saint Nicholas. Not only to protect themselves, but above all to protect others. During these two week vacation, moms and dads are doing their best to take care of them even more, but this year they deserve your visit more than ever. Every child is a hero, and for once you don’t need to check your big notebook to see who’s been good.