This evening, Prime Minister Rutte and Minister for Health Hugo de Jonge gave a press conference about the Netherland’s future approach to coronavirus, and what we can expect from the upcoming relaxations of coronavirus regulations.
There were no big surprises, just a few technicalities that were a little different from what was expected. As planned, public buildings, including cafes and restaurants, can reopen from 1 June at midday.
How will the reopening work?
They will be required to work by reservation, and to have a conversation with each customer to ask them if they have cold symptoms. Customers should be able to keep 1.5m from each other, and buildings can hold maximum 30 people at once, excluding staff. Previously, this number was to include staff, but Rutte explained that this would be too difficult to carry out.
Theatres and cinemas may also reopen for 30 people at most on 1 June, again with a reservation. Rutte also mentioned that the cabinet was in discussion with gyms to see if they could reopen sooner than the forecasted 1 September.
No to the horeca’s request to open earlier
Another unsurprising decision was the cabinet’s refusal to allow the horeca to open a weekend early to take advantage of the holiday. Rutte said that the cabinet had carefully considered this but decided to take the cautious option and keep the original 1 June date.
Face mask required on public transport from 1 June
From 1 June, the public transport service will run as normal, but travellers will be required to wear a face mask while travelling. The system will be able to carry 40% of its regular number of passengers if people are to respect the 1.5m rule, so the trains, buses and trams are still only for those who must travel, and definitely not for day trips.
Primary schools reopen fully, high schools partially reopen
On 8 June, primary schools will reopen fully. On 2 June high schools will begin to reopen, by prioritising students who need to learn in the school building, whether that is because of home circumstances, or because of the type of education they are taking. High school students are required to keep 1.5m distance.
Rutte finished by addressing the children and young people of the Netherlands, and thanked them for keeping to the rules. He acknowledged that the past months have been especially hard for them, and encouraged them to use their creativity to come up with ideas for a 1.5m society.
Rutte was followed by Minister for Health Hugo de Jonge, who talked in more detail about the Netherlands’ strategy for the next couple of months, and about testing capacity – we’ll cover this in more detail tomorrow, so stay tuned.
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Feature Image: Abuzer van Leeuwen/Supplied.