Visiting an ‘orange’ corona area? Then you should quarantine for two weeks when you return. This also applies to the province of Antwerp, just across the border, for which the cabinet issued ‘code orange’ on Tuesday evening. But no longer going to Belgium is easier said than done for many border residents.
They have family back and forth, their work and shopping there. The daily life of residents of Putte in North Brabant is divided between the Netherlands and Belgium. The village is separated by the border between the two countries. A border that previously only existed on paper.
Since the Dutch government announced code orange on Tuesday for the corona-ravaged province of Antwerp, Dutch villagers have to think carefully about where they get their bread and vegetables. If they do that across the border, the government expects to quarantine for two weeks.
Also read: Confusion in border village of Baarle-Nassau: ‘Shop in? Put on your mouth mask! ‘
Putten people find it all very confusing. “Before the lockdown we didn’t have to wear face masks, after the lockdown neither … Now it slowly goes up again and then we suddenly have to wear a mouth mask again,” says one of the Heart of the Netherlands.
Not everyone seems to care about the quarantine rule. A passer-by has just been to Belgium: “I was wearing a mask. Officially I should be quarantined now. ” The man has no intention of actually doing this.
Travel advice hits hard
The travel advice is definitely an extra blow for the Belgians, Carl Van Dyck, regional director of the Belgian association of self-employed entrepreneurs UNIZO, tells the ANP.
“This is hard on the shopkeepers, hotels, cafes and restaurants. The Dutch make a significant contribution to the Antwerp economy, ”says Van Dyck. Staying away from the “highly valued Dutch public” comes on top of the curfew and other security measures that come into effect Wednesday evening in Antwerp.
Moreover, the border between the Netherlands and Belgium is not closed. The Dutch are still allowed to drive through the province of Antwerp, but if you stop and get off at a gas station, you must be quarantined.