The Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and the Dutch Minister of Health Hugo de Jonge call the situation in their country ‘serious’. The Dutch government sees no other solution than to reintroduce measures at national level. In Rutte’s words:’ We are threatening to have to follow the virus “. We are now taking strict measures to stay ahead again.”
Earlier it was announced that the catering industry should close its doors at 10 pm. No new customers are allowed in at 9 pm. This measure, of course, affects cafes harder than restaurants. That is no coincidence, Rutte notes, since the contamination clusters are mainly found in cafés.
The Dutch government is also asking to work from home as much as possible again. “That had a great effect in the spring,” said Rutte. Moreover, they also see in the clusters that a lot of infections take place in the work context. If an infection is still found in an office, they risk having to close their doors for up to fourteen days.
The Dutch also try to limit group travel as much as possible. Outdoor group sizes are limited to 40 people outside and 30 people inside. Groups may not be larger than four, unless it concerns one household. A catering establishment may therefore receive a maximum of 40 people in groups of four outdoors. Shopping is done alone as much as possible. It is also requested to receive a maximum of three guests at home. Children up to the age of 13 are not covered by this advice.
All sports competitions take place behind closed doors, including amateur sports. The sports canteens will close again.
Nothing will change in education. Exceptions also apply to large “transfer locations” where different people move past each other, such as amusement parks, museums and shopping centers. The security regions determine how many visitors are allowed there, with a view to keeping a distance of 1.5 meters between visitors.
Face masks were already mandatory on public transport in the Netherlands, but are now also recommended in shops in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. The virus circulates most strongly in those cities. Traders may also refuse customers who are not wearing a mouth mask. Rutte and co were previously unable to find mouth masks, but they are now turning their cart anyway. “I think it contributes something, yes”, says Rutte about it now, “but the one and a half meter distance is superior.”
Travel to Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague is not recommended, unless it is really necessary.
The registration of customers, as we also know in our country in the hospitality industry, extends the Netherlands to all contact professions. Hairdressers and masseurs must therefore also register who visited them. This registration requirement may be expanded even further.
The measures apply for three weeks. This is followed by a new evaluation: if the curve flattens out, the Netherlands wants regional measures again. Rutte and de Jonge emphasize that freedom, public health and the economy are not opposites, but are inextricably linked. “We have to share the pain,” said Rutte. “Allowing the virus to flare up has even bigger consequences, also economically.” He ends with a call to the people to follow the rules as closely as possible. The police and boas (extraordinary investigators) will enforce them, “but that is not necessary if they are just followed.”
3,000 new infections
Since Sunday, stricter measures have already been in force in eight regions, but the government would now also introduce national measures again. These are necessary because the number of infections is increasing rapidly everywhere. In the past 24 hours, almost 3,000 new infections were again detected, according to figures from the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM).
The new measures would take effect on Tuesday evening, and are already three weeks in force. Then the effect on the infections is evaluated.
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