Since Wednesday 5 August, it has been mandatory for anyone the age of 13 and above to wear a non-medical face mask in parts of Amsterdam city centre. These designated areas have been selected due to there being limited space and where it is crowded, meaning other measures may not have had sufficient effect on preventing spread of the coronavirus.
This trial has been launched because of the concern about the increasing number of coronavirus infections. The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) recently concluded that the act of wearing a face mask can affect public behaviour, causing people to be more cautious and increase the distance between each other. This trial will determine if this is actually the case.
The obligation to wear a face mask is a trial measure and does not replace the rule of keeping 1.5 metre distance.
Where and when are face masks required?
Since the launch of the trial, the use of face masks will be mandatory until further notice in the following locations:
- Nieuwendijk and Kalverstraat: on the street and inside shops during day and night (24/7).
- Red Light District (northern area, excluding Damstraat): on the street and inside shops during day and night (24/7).
- Plein ’40-’45 market: during the street market’s opening hours.
- Albert Cuypstraat market: on the street and inside shops during the street market’s opening hours.
The areas where face masks are mandatory may be expanded in the coming weeks. The obligation to wear a face mask does not apply to catering businesses (including terraces), museums, amusement arcades, businesses active in the sex industry, and gyms. Nor does it apply to private homes, gardens or offices.
Who has to wear a face mask?
The obligation to wear a face mask applies to everyone 13 years and older, for both visitors and the staff in shops and markets. There is an exception for staff working behind a desk or cash register that is equipped with a protective sneeze guard.
How do you know where a face mask is mandatory?
Signs will be on display in all of the trial locations, clearly communicating that it is necessary to wear a face mask. During the opening period of the trial, hosts will be present on the streets to inform people about the rules and offer free face masks if needed.
Are there exceptions to the obligation to wear a face mask?
- Children who are 12 and under no not have to wear a face mask.
- If you cannot wear a face mask due to medical reasons, you will also be exempt. Please note, however, that you must be able to substantiate the reason why you cannot wear a face mask.
- There is also an exception for staff working behind a desk or cash register that is equipped with a protective sneeze guard.
Apart from these three exceptions, the obligation to wear a face mask applies to everyone. For example, if you are walking your dog, taking out your household waste or exercising in any of the areas, it is necessary to wear a face mask.
Eating or drinking in an area where a face mask is mandatory
Please keep your face mask on wherever you are required to wear it. If you would like to stop for something to eat or drink, we encourage you to do so outside the area where the obligation to wear a face mask applies, whenever possible. In catering establishments and on terraces, it is not compulsory to wear a face mask.
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