In the city of about 1.2 million people, the lockdown began during the runup to Brussels' holiday tourist season. The capital typically attracts around a million people for the main Christmas fair that is scheduled to open Nov. 27. It's too early to determine the exact economic impact of the terrorist threat in Brussels, but if the immediate drop in tourism in Paris is an indicator, overall revenue in that industry will see significant declines.
According to Olivier Willocx, head of the Brussels Business Federation, some downtown hotels in Brussels saw 40 percent of bookings for the past weekend canceled at the last minute. The lockdown is especially difficult for locals not accustomed to large army vehicles rolling down their city streets and armed soldiers standing outside supermarkets.
"The past weekend was pretty grim," said Brussels-based Peter Vanden Houte, chief euro zone economist at ING, who noted nonetheless that it's the consumer-facing businesses that are taking the biggest hit. "The ones who are really suffering are the restaurants and the cafes. But the macroeconomic impact of what happened over the last couple of days remains limited even if the threat is the highest level it has been for a long time."