The Dutch government announced a step-by-step approach on 19 May to further ease the measures for tackling the coronavirus. Throughout June, some restrictions will start to be relaxed at a local and neighbourhood level first, with the situation being closely monitored. One thing that remains clear: we need to continue to stay 1.5 metres apart as much as possible.

Some points covered in this week’s release have previously been communicated (see our news item from 6 May here), with other new points being added to the activities that we will soon be allowed to do. As of 1 June, visiting inside other people’s home will be allowed and, looking further ahead, the government hopes to adapt the visiting policy for all care homes from 15 June.

There is a list of nine rules that we all must still follow – including staying 1.5 meters apart and working from home if possible – which have not changed.

The range of new activities that will be starting again from 1 June will see small gatherings being allowed. Outside, it appears there is no limit on the number for small groups of people who can meet and terraces in cafes do not have a restriction on numbers – as long as everyone stays apart at a distance of 1.5 metres.

Indoors: 30 people max

Meeting people in public places will be allowed but there are restrictions. Restaurants, cafes and bars can welcome guests inside their establishments from 1 June, with a maximum limit of 30 people (not including staff).

Public buildings have a similar number restriction, as do cultural institutions (cinemas, theatres, museums, etc.). People will more than likely be required to make reservations in advance and you should check with the individual destinations beforehand.

All schools opening in June

Following on from the many primary schools that reopened in May, now secondary schools can also begin opening their doors as well:

• Secondary schools will reopen on 2 June. Schools will take measures to ensure that everyone can keep 1.5 metres apart. In practice, this means that not all pupils can attend school at the same time.
• Secondary schools for special education will reopen for all pupils on 2 June. These schools will also take measures to ensure that everyone can keep a distance of 1.5 metres. This will require a tailored approach and maintaining a distance will not always be possible at this type of school.
• Primary schools will be open their regular hours from 8 June, unless the research currently being carried out shows that this is not safe.

Public transport

A clear message is that public transport should still only be used for essential travel. As previously announced, from 1 June face masks will be mandatory while travelling on public transport. Specific instructions made in this latest announcement about this matter include:

• Passengers aged 13 and over will be required to wear a non-medical face mask on trams, buses, water buses, metros and trains.
• In stations, on platforms and at bus and tram stops face masks are not required, but people must stay 1.5 metres away from others.
• Passengers who do not wear a face mask after 1 June can be fined €95.

The statement issued by the government notes: ‘The Netherlands’ approach is aimed at keeping the virus under control as much as possible in order to protect vulnerable groups and make sure the healthcare system can cope. Thanks to people complying with the measures, the situation has improved. The figures show a positive trend and so we can move step by step towards having more freedom.’

This approach is under constant monitoring. ‘Each step can only be taken if the virus stays under control. This must be done with great care. If circumstances require, any decision to relax measures will be reversed.’

A list of FAQs is available on the government’s website here.

[Source]

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It remains clear: we need to continue to stay 1.5 metres apart as much as possible

This 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:

http://government.nl/coronavirus

https://www.rivm.nl/en/novel-coronavirus-covid-19

Carmel McNamara
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