The Netherlands will shut down from 5pm to 5am, apart from essential services for at least three weeks from this Sunday, as the cabinet struggles to reduce the spread of coronavirus, now at an average of 22,000 new cases a day.
The number of people testing positive for coronavirus has never been as high as during the past few weeks. Access to healthcare is under pressure across all of the Netherlands. Unfortunately, it is necessary at this stage to cancel scheduled care, such as hip and hernia operations, to ensure the continuity of the most acute care, such as major heart surgery, cancer treatment and kidney transplants. The number of infections and hospital admissions is not expected to fall in the short term. The government is therefore imposing stricter measures in order to curb the number of infections and stop the health and care sector being further overburdened. The measures are intended to significantly reduce the frequency of contact between people. During the daytime people can still go to school, carry out their work and do sports and other activities, but with some restrictions. In the evenings almost everything will be closed.
These measures will enter into force at 05.00 on Sunday 28 November and apply until at least Sunday 19 December. The government will reassess the situation on Tuesday 14 December.
Measures and urgent advice
- Everyone should stay at home as much as possible.
- Between 17.00 and 05.00 locations must be closed and events are not permitted.
- Everyone aged 18 and over must stay 1.5 meters away from others.
- Essential shops, such as supermarkets and chemists, can stay open until 20.00.
- Essential service providers, such as notaries, lawyers, mortgage advisors and medical health professionals, can be open for their normal opening hours.
- Amateur sports matches and training are not permitted between 17.00 and 05.00. Professional sports matches and training and professional artistic and cultural activities are permitted, even after 17.00. No spectators or audiences.
- Face masks while moving around and 1.5-metre distancing are required at all locations where people have assigned seats, such as restaurants, bars, cinemas and theatres. This means fewer people can be admitted to these locations.
- 1.5-metre distancing and face masks will be required at all locations with a continuous flow of visitors, such as trade fairs. This means fewer people can be admitted to these locations.
- The rules for working from home have been tightened: ‘Work from home. If this is impossible: stay 1.5 meters apart at work.’
- Do a self-test before visiting others or receiving visitors.
- Take extra care in situations where people aged 70 and over come into contact with children aged 12 and under.
A complete overview of measures, conditions and exceptions can be found at government.nl/coronavirus.
The rules and advice already in place continue to apply. This includes the basic rules, the advice to receive no more than 4 visitors per day, face mask requirements, the ban on spectators at sports events, the maximum number of 1,250 people at large venues, and the coronavirus entry pass rules and assigned seating requirement in the hospitality and cultural sectors.
Schools will remain open. However, extra rules and arrangements are necessary to prevent the spread of the virus (in Dutch only) as much as possible. These include fixed routes in schools, a face mask requirement in hallways for pupils in primary years 6 to 8 and at secondary schools, as well as regular self-testing. Children aged 12 and under with cold symptoms – such as a runny nose – must stay at home and get tested by the municipal health service (GGD), even if their symptoms are mild.
The government realises that these stricter measures will have a significant impact on businesses and workers, and is therefore significantly expanding the support package (in Dutch only). The Temporary Emergency Scheme for Job Retention (NOW) will be reintroduced and the fixed costs grant will be raised. This expansion of the support package will total almost €2.2 billion.
As many older people as possible will receive a vaccine booster before the end of 2021. The GGDs, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and other parties are launching a booster offensive to this end (in Dutch only). Assistance will be provided by 750 Ministry of Defence personnel and by students. The rollout of vaccine boosters for older people who cannot travel to a vaccination location, originally scheduled to begin in January 2022, has been brought forward and will start next week.
[Source: The Governement of the Netherlands]