Although more than 200,000 people are now testing positive for coronavirus weekly in the Netherlands, at the press conference on Friday, January 14, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Ernst Kuipers announced a series of relaxations to the country’s lockdown policy which took effect four weeks ago. While many rules remain in place, the rules for sports, artistic and cultural activities, contact-based industries, shops and education will be relaxed on Saturday 15 January 2022. The government has decided that non-essential shops, gyms and sports clubs, music schools, and locations where contact-based professions are carried out (such as hairdressers) can reopen. The rules on the use of face masks have been tightened. Due to the very high number of infections caused by the Omicron variant other sectors like the hospitality business and cultural sector organizations will remain closed.
The new rules take effect on Saturday, January 15. On Tuesday 25 January the government will decide if more restrictions can be lifted.
Education, culture and sport
Secondary vocational education (MBO) and higher education (HBO and universities) can reopen for in-person learning. All indoor and outdoor sports activities and artistic and cultural activities (such as music, theatre and dance) are permitted again, but without spectators/audiences. Adults may now also take part in sports matches and competitions within their own club. People over 18 taking part in sports indoors or in artistic and cultural activities indoors and outdoors must show a coronavirus entry pass.
Shops and contact-based industries
Non-essential shops can reopen until 17.00. People must stay 1.5 metres apart and wear face masks, the number of shoppers must be limited, and hygiene rules must be followed. Hairdressers, nail technicians, sex workers and others in contact-based professions may see customers before 17.00. For an overview of all the rules and conditions, and the answers to frequently asked questions, see Government.nl/coronavirus.
Wearing a face mask is advised in any place where it is not possible to stay 1.5 metres apart. This now also applies at busy outdoor places such as shopping streets. It also applies in the workplace. People are now advised to wear a disposable face mask. The government advises against wearing fabric masks and homemade masks. Read all the rules and advice on wearing face masks.
Close contacts of a person who has coronavirus do not need to self-quarantine if they do not have symptoms themselves and they received their booster vaccination at least 1 week ago or have had coronavirus in the past 8 weeks. This applies with immediate effect.
Advice on self-quarantining for people in certain jobs who have not yet received their booster vaccination or have not had coronavirus recently will be issued soon. Read more about self-quarantining and self-isolating due to coronavirus and when to get tested.
Due to the Omicron variant the daily number of infections is higher than at any point during the pandemic. This means there is still a risk that the healthcare system will become overburdened. The high number of people testing positive and the rules on self-quarantining means many people are unable to work. This could lead to major problems.
From 15 January 2022 the following measures apply:
- Always stay 1.5 metres apart.
- If you have symptoms, stay at home and do a self-test. If the result is positive get tested by the municipal health service (GGD).
- Receive no more than 4 visitors aged 13 and over a day. Visit no more than 1 household a day.
- Outdoors, people are advised not to meet in groups of more than 4 people aged 13 and over.
- All restaurants, bars and cafés are closed, except for takeaway and delivery.
- Cinemas, museums, theatres and concert venues are closed.
- Essential shops, such as supermarkets and chemists, can stay open until 20.00.
- Petrol stations, pharmacies, driving schools, notaries, lawyers and other essential service providers can be open for their normal opening hours.
These measures apply in addition to the existing restrictions and advice, such as the basis rules, the face mask requirement, the advice to do a self-test before visiting others or receiving visitors and the advice to work from home. People aged 70 and over are advised to limit their contact with others, including children, as much as possible and to stay 1.5 metres apart.
[Source: The government of the Netherlands]
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: