Face masks in public indoor spaces: where exactly will that apply?

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Mayor Halsema advises everyone to wear a mouth mask in public indoor spaces, she told a press conference yesterday. But what kind of locations are we talking about and how is this ‘urgent advice’ handled?

Because the number of infections in the city continues to increase, local measures have been implemented again. For example, the mayor has asked entrepreneurs to include the face mask in the door policy. That advice applies from 6 p.m. tonight.

Advice is not followed everywhere

Halsema does not oblige, due to legal risks. Institutions can therefore determine themselves whether they actually follow the advice.

And there are quite different opinions about this, according to a first round of AT5. A mouth mask will indeed have to be worn in some public indoor spaces. While in other places people choose not to do so.

‘Still working out’

But what exactly is such a public interior space? ‘The advice applies in any case to catering establishments and shops,’ says a spokesperson for the mayor. ‘But the situation arose quite quickly. So we are still working out which other locations are involved. ‘

Today or tomorrow there must be more clarity about this.

Operation with mouth caps

It is already clear that the advice will apply to catering establishments. At the Tolhuistuin, for example, guests will soon be asked to wear a mouth mask when they leave the table.

‘But we don’t make it compulsory. Ultimately, it is also the choice of people themselves. We also have a large hall, so there is a good distance. ‘

Incidentally, the control will wear a mouth mask anyway from tomorrow. And more restaurants are opting for this, including Café de Jaren. ‘We are setting a good example ourselves and we would like people to follow that, but we are not going to make it mandatory. Of course, it also makes a difference that our café is very large. But if guests still want a mouth mask, they can get it from us. ‘

‘Extra discussion’

The advice also applies to shops. But supermarkets, for example, are still reticent: in principle they do not want to oblige customers to wear a mouth mask.

‘If shops start making mouth masks mandatory, it is expected that this will lead to a lot of extra discussion and even aggression at the door. The sector wants to protect staff from this, ‘the Central Bureau for Food Trade (CBL) explained earlier.

Gyms

But what if the advice also applies to other public indoor spaces, such as gyms? There, wearing mouth masks seems to be a bit more difficult to implement. Nevertheless, the mayor already announced during the press conference that he would also ‘advise them urgently’.

At Vondelgym they have already taken that advice to heart. In any case, a mouth mask must be put on before someone enters the building, or if an athlete wants to visit the toilet. The mouth mask may be removed during the lesson.

Yet not many other gym owners will follow this example, industry association NL Actief expects. “We are not yet receiving any signals from that,” says a spokesperson.

Don’t oblige

According to him, it is in any case ‘very difficult to wear a mouth mask during sports’. Athletes can do that before class, as is happening at Vondelgym now.

“But I don’t think many entrepreneurs will really make it mandatory,” the spokesperson expects. ‘An athlete is of course free to wear a mouth mask, if he wants to.’

‘Gyms are often spacious locations. I think that entrepreneurs in a busy shopping street, for example, see things differently ‘

spokesman nl active

According to NL Actief, gym owners adhere ‘very strictly’ to other measures, such as keeping their distance and disinfecting.

“But the question is whether such a mask is seen as added value,” says the spokesperson. ‘Gyms are often spacious locations. I think entrepreneurs in a busy shopping street, for example, have a different view. ‘

‘Still lenient’

Yet there are also other institutions that choose to introduce the wearing of a mouth mask. This is made compulsory at the Rijksmuseum, among others, for reasons of safety. ‘Although we are still accommodating in the first week,’ says a spokesperson.

Visitors are expected to bring their own copy. Should they nevertheless forget, mouth masks are for sale in the museum shop.

‘Everything for a safe visit’

Visitors to the Hermitage and the Nieuwe Kerk are also asked to bring a face mask. ‘That also applies to the staff. We do everything we can to ensure a peaceful and safe visit. ‘

Anyone who sits down somewhere can take off the mask. On the other hand, the masking obligation does apply while walking. The rules will take effect from tomorrow, although it will remain ‘just look at the coming days’. ‘People should also be able to get used to it.’

The Stedelijk Museum agrees. ‘Mouth caps will be mandatory from tomorrow. Just like our Museumplein colleagues, we will have some leniency in the first days for those who are not used to it yet. ‘

Yassin Elforkani, head imam of the Blue Mosque in Slotervaart, says that wearing a face mask is mandatory. From now on, the first minutes of each service or sermon will focus on the corona measures and visitors will be asked to test themselves in case of complaints. Visitors are still welcome, but Elforkani says that a closure of the mosque is being considered.

No final decision yet

Other institutions are still busy discussing the advice. For example, no final decision has yet been taken at the OBA, although a concept is ready. ‘As it looks now, we will be working with face masks in all locations and studying will soon no longer be possible at all OBA locations,’ says a spokesperson.

Confusing

But will it not become confusing later, if the advice is adopted in one place and not in another?

‘People have to choose for themselves what they want, the retailers can help with that. You have to do everything you can to ensure that the virus is contained, “said the mayor’s spokesman.

Pitch in

He cites the Bijenkorf as an example. ‘There, mouth caps are handed out at the door. As far as we are concerned, this contributes to reducing the number of infections. But we are not going to oblige entrepreneurs to do so. ‘

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