To reduce the spread of the coronavirus, it is compulsory to wear a face mask in all public indoor spaces for everyone aged 13 and older from Tuesday 1 December. Anyone not wearing a mask can be fined €95.
The new law provides a legal base for earlier measures and will be valid for the next 3 months. The penalty, just under €100, means people who fail to abide by the rule will not face a criminal record.
The Netherlands is one of the last countries in Europe to impose the wearing of masks indoors following pressure from the public and politics. The Dutch health institute RIVM, which advises the government, still maintains that face masks do not significantly lower the risk of infection.
‘Public spaces’ include shops, museums, theatres and cinemas, as well as station buildings and airports. Masks must also be work when attending appointments at so-called ‘contact professions’, such as hairdressers, nail salons and driving schools. Masks must be worn by both employees and customers.
Retail chains, such as Ahold, which comprises Albert Heijn, Etos and Gall & Gall, have already said they will inform customers about the obligation but will not refuse non-wearers. Also, Blokker, Intertoys, and BCC also said they will inform but not police the new rule.
All shop owners have to make sure that employees wear a mask, as well as informing customers about the obligation of wearing a mask. If customers refuse to wear a mask, shops could consider to call a warden (boa). In all cases, shop owners will not be fined.
The coronavirus pandemic is an ongoing situation and it is advisable to check the websites of the relevant authorities to obtain the most up-to-date information.
To keep updated with advice from the government and the RIVM, head to:
- Dutch lockdown continues until at least 9 February - January 14, 2021
- Compulsary negative coronavirus test for all travellers - January 2, 2021
- Oliebollen, a Dutch New Year’s tradition - December 31, 2020