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A majority in the House of Representatives wants Dutch people across the country to wear a face mask in public indoor spaces, such as shops and restaurants. Government parties VVD and CDA are also in favor of this now, as appears during the corona debate in the House of Representatives.

Maarten van Ast & Peter Winterman

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VVD party chairman Klaas Dijkhoff wants national advice or a national obligation to wear mouth masks in indoor areas, such as shops and restaurants. Government parties CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie also want the mouth masks advice – which currently only applies in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and the Eindhoven region – to be expanded. This means that there is a large majority in parliament for a national guideline. The ChristenUnie suggests introducing face masks in secondary schools as well.

Since last night, the corona measures in the Netherlands have been tightened up considerably. For example, the catering industry has to close its doors at 10 p.m. and no more public is allowed at sports matches. In the big cities, there is also an ‘urgent advice’ to wear a mouth mask in public buildings, such as shops. But there is a lot of uncertainty about that mouth masks advice. Some retailers require a mouth mask, while supermarkets leave it up to the customer.

Advice or duty?

PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher now wants urgent advice to wear a face mask in public spaces everywhere in the Netherlands. “In the long term, that could also become a legal obligation,” says Asscher. VVD member Dijkhoff asks the cabinet to quickly opt for national advice or a national obligation. “That you go in with a mouth mask on in the catering industry and walk to your table,” says Dijkhoff as an example. CDA party leader Pieter Heerma also argues for ‘compelling, national advice’.

Mandatory masks are already the most normal thing in the world in most countries around us. But the cabinet – under the influence of RIVM leader Jaap van Dissel – has long been against the large-scale use of face masks. According to Van Dissel, masks would have no added value, as long as the 1.5 meter rule is observed. This week, the cabinet asked the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) for new advice on mouth masks.

‘Chance of relaxation is zero’

PvdA leader Asscher says in the corona debate that the cabinet is ‘taking a gamble’ with the latest corona measures. “I think you should do more and faster to protect health and the economy. I think the cabinet should recognize that with these measures the chance is actually zero that can be relaxed in three weeks. “” According to PVV leader Geert Wilders, there is ‘complete chaos’. He states that the Netherlands is losing control of the virus.

The House of Representatives has been in debate with Prime Minister Mark Rutte and ministers Hugo de Jonge (Public Health) and Tamara van Ark (Medical Care) about the corona measures since 11.30 a.m. The debate will likely run until 7pm tonight.

VVD party chairman Klaas Dijkhoff © ANP

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