In an RTL interview on Friday, the Mayor of Luxembourg City Lydie Polfer discussed easing restrictions, security concerns at the train station and other social issues.
Covid-19 restrictions were eased this week in Luxembourg while neighbouring countries introduced a new set of tighter rules. Polfer could not say what the local municipality can expect in the coming weeks.
She reiterated that Luxembourg City is well prepared to swiftly adapt to changes. Should it be necessary, the mayor said, the local council could also enact new rules. She expects, however, that once terraces can reopen some restrictions that apply to restaurants and cafes will be lifted.
Polfer further said that it was a “painful decision” to close most business in the city, which virtually turned it into a “ghost town”. In order to support local business, the mayor said that local authorities will waive certain taxes and rents.
She has also appealed to private property owners, in particular those who do not have to pay back mortgages or other loans, to follow suit where possible. There is no legal basis to force them to forgo money that is owed to them but Polfer nevertheless appeals to their common sense and solidarity. She is pleased to know that several property owners have shown solidarity with struggling businesses. However, she also says that others have not.
Sense of (in)security at the train station
When asked about the general feeling of insecurity at the city’s train station and its surrounding areas, Polfer emphasised that the city started employing private security personnel since December. The mayor is pleased with the current progress.
She cited the example of one business woman who was escorted to the bank by security personnel to pay in money from her cash register. Polfer did not report any problems.
She also confirmed that as long as the police is unable to intervene in certain areas, especially concerning squatters in house entrances, the city will have no choice but to continue employing the services of private security firms.
Polfer was also asked about a statement of a DP councillor, according to which some social structures need to be de-centralised in the city, specifically regarding addiction centres. The mayor replied that the city will not offer more social support. She cited the example of the drug addiction centre “Abrigado”. Most people who frequent it are not registered residents of Luxembourg City. Hence why Polfer is asking the government, other council and authorities from abroad to step up.
When the addiction centre “Contact Esch” opened, it visibly relieved such services in Luxembourg City. Polfer is calling for another such facility to be built in the north of the country.
With regards to homeless people, Polfer emphasised that no one needs to sleep on the streets. The city is currently acquiring another building in Bonnevoie to expand its accommodation capacity for rough sleepers.