All new measures against the corona virus in a row

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Cafes close at 10pm

The catering industry “unfortunately” cannot escape extra measures, Prime Minister Rutte said on Monday. All restaurants and cafes have to close at 10 pm from this Tuesday, the last walk-in is at 9 pm. A café or restaurant may also receive within a maximum of thirty guests and outside forty. The new corona measures announced by the cabinet are a “huge blow and setback” for the hospitality industry. That says director of Koninklijke Horeca Nederland Dirk Beljaarts Monday evening. According to him, the catering industry is doing everything it can to keep the spread of the corona virus under control.

Beljaarts also states that there are relatively few infections in the catering industry. That is why he calls the measures ‘symbolic politics’. “I think the UWV will be very busy with dismissed catering workers if the sector does not receive much more generous financial compensation.”

These are new restrictions for a sector that had to close completely for 2.5 months this year – from mid-March to 1 June – and is still struggling today. Even now, the reopening of restaurants, cafés and hotels is often “a loss-making situation”, according to industry association Koninklijke Horeca Nederland. There were already extra concerns for autumn and winter, because terraces (partly) cannot be used.

The catering industry relies heavily on the NOW scheme. Employees have been made redundant in almost half of the companies. Hospitality entrepreneurs said in August that they expect to turn over about half as much this year as usual. At that time KHN still expressed the hope of relaxation. The sector is also disappointed to be responsible for complying with the corona rules of guests.

Mondkapjesadvies

In the four safety regions (Amsterdam Amstelland, Rotterdam Rijnmond, Haaglanden and Brabant-Zuidoost) people are advised to wear face masks in public indoor spaces. Amsterdam mayor Halsema announced this on Monday. It is an advice, so it is not enforced.

In addition, hairdressers and beauticians are obliged to register customers to make source and contact research of the GGD easier. That is not a very big switch, say spokespersons for the two branches. Just walking in was no longer possible anyway. Customers are obliged to make an appointment and during an ‘intake’ they are informed about their health.

During the ‘intelligent’ lockdown that was announced in mid-March, hairdressers and beauty salons had to close, resulting in a turnover drop of more than a third in the first half of 2020 (newer figures are not yet available). They were allowed to return to work on 11 May. Relatively fast: that was three weeks earlier than the catering industry, for example.

Door policy shops

The retail sector must adopt “a mandatory door policy” to ensure that too many people do not come in and can be kept five feet away.

In the shops in the aforementioned safety regions, the advice will be to wear a mouth mask. Retailers may refuse people who do not want to.

Furthermore, supermarkets must again implement a strict door policy by cleaning trolleys or baskets. There are also two times a day in large supermarkets when vulnerable people can shop. Furthermore – still – the advice to go shopping alone applies.

Working from home, unless …

The cabinet advises to limit the number of travel movements as much as possible to prevent the spread of the corona virus. “Do not get on the bus or tram to go shopping,” said Prime Minister Rutte during the early press conference. And: work at home, unless there really is no other option. Rutte’s appeal is sharper than his earlier request to work from home “as much as possible”. There is also now a sanction: a company where a ‘serious contamination’ takes place can be closed for two weeks. In recent months, employees have returned to the office more often. “Employers received more attention for the disadvantages of working from home”, says Jannes van der Velde of the AWVN employers’ association: the reduced sense of community, the inability to brainstorm.

The average number of people in the workplace was only a quarter lower last week than at the beginning of this year, tech company Google concluded on the basis of Dutch telephone data. In April this was halved. The number of infections at work also increased. Two weeks ago, 11 percent of the traceable positive tests could be traced back to an infection in the workplace, according to the RIVM.

The amount of office work will now decrease rapidly, Van der Velde expects. “You can assume that employers will adhere to this and that the number of commuting movements will decrease drastically.” What about brainstorming via video? He sighs. “It is no different.”

‘Don’t put football out in the cold’

A reset. That’s how it feels now that professional football is not allowed to receive an audience for three weeks. Experimenting with fuller stadiums, as the KNVB and clubs like Feyenoord wanted, is not an option for the time being.

“Not because the sports sector is doing poorly,” as Rutte said, “but because we as a whole, including in sports, are failing to reduce the virus.” The measures do not seem to be a punishment for ignored corona rules at Feyenoord and the crowds on a Tilburg square around a duel of Willem II.

“This is of course very sour,” responded the KNVB, Eredivisie CV and Eerste Divisie (CED). “All the more so because there is no scientific evidence between the presence of an audience in a stadium and the increase in the number of corona cases in the Netherlands. And football has really done everything and invested heavily to create a safe situation in stadiums. We also believe that it worked out very well and research shows this too. ”

Feyenoord director Mark Koevermans said on the club site that he hopes that “The Hague will not leave football in the cold now that clubs are gradually getting into really insurmountable problems.”

In the coming weeks there may not be an audience for amateur sports either. Furthermore, all sports canteens must be closed.

Limit group size

Obviously, experts consider the cabinet’s “urgent advice” to limit the number of guests you receive at home to three. “Most houses are not big enough to keep five feet away for more than three visitors. So this advice is obvious, ”said a spokesperson for the joint GGDs. Most corona infections occur in a home situation, according to figures from the RIVM; more than 54 percent of the reported infections since 6 July involving related cases. Environments such as family (over 13 percent), work (10 percent) and catering (5 percent) score much lower. The student houses are also counted under home situation.

In March this year, during the first wave, the urgent advice was also not to receive more than three people at home.

In the course of August, when the number of infections started to rise again, the cabinet again called for the number of visitors to be limited; then up to six people. “But then the situation was not as urgent as it is now”, says a spokesman for the RIVM. “This advice has everything to do with limiting contacts as much as possible.”

The maximum group size is also further limited outside the home. For outdoor activities, a maximum of forty people are allowed to gather, inside (for example in the catering industry) a maximum of thirty, excluding staff. Special gatherings outside, such as funerals, political gatherings and demonstrations, are excluded.

Education out of harm’s way

“We want children to be able to go to school as usual,” said Minister Hugo de Jonge during Monday’s press conference. After the school closure before the summer, educational organizations and the cabinet agree on this: in the interest of students, schools should remain open as much as possible, although the number of infections is also increasing there. According to RIVM figures of September 22, 4.2 percent of infections took place at school or at childcare in the previous week. Few infections are still diagnosed under the age of fifteen, but above that the number of infections is slowly increasing.

On average, ten to fifteen percent of the students are at home, usually because of a harmless cold. Many teachers are also at home, waiting for a corona test or because they are in a risk group. Teachers who are in front of the classroom must provide both physical education and distance education for those who sit at home. An almost impossible combination. The number of infections is increasing among students. This mainly happens in student houses or at parties. Hardly in college. There are hardly any: physical education is limited to a few hours a week. Nobody wants less physical education, not even the cabinet (yet).





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