Today, July 1, brings another round of coronavirus rules being relaxed to the Netherlands. But as most of society returns to something resembling normality, the question remains: what does nightlife look like in the corona times?

From bars to nightclubs to casinos, we’re taking you through all the things you can (and can’t) do to have a fun evening right now in the Netherlands. We do also recommend just sleeping sometimes, but we’re hoping you already know how to do that, even in the corona times.

Cafes, bars and restaurants are open

Back on June 1, cafes, restaurants, bars and terraces were able to reopen to customers. Since then, they’ve been filled every day, with people making up for lost time drinking and catching up with their friends. Heading to your local square or even beach club in the evening, soaking up those rays of sunshine (or huddling underneath an umbrella as it rains, more realistically) is the perfect way to spend your evenings these days. It’s a good idea to phone ahead to reserve a spot: this makes it easier for the bar to offer you a guaranteed spot. Spaces are a bit more limited right now than usual, as the 1.5m distance has to be observed, so if the place you want to go is popular, reserving is definitely advisable.

Are nightclubs open yet?

Now, one thing that hasn’t been allowed to reopen yet are nightclubs and discos, usually a crucial part of the nightlife of a city. However, it makes sense, with coronavirus still being present in the Netherlands. The 1.5m distance still needs to be observed everywhere in the Netherlands (with some exceptions, where a face mask is required instead). Anyone who has been to a nightclub knows that a 1.5m distance would be pretty impossible to observe there, so for now, be your own DJ and have a dance in your bedroom (preferably with headphones, so you don’t displease your neighbours).

Today, nightclub and discotheque owners submitted a petition to Parliament, asking for permission to reopen on August 1. In the latest press conference, Prime Minister Rutte said that they would have to wait at least until September 1, when their case would be reconsidered. But according to NOS, nightclub owners are worried that they will go out of business if they have to wait that long.

Festivals and events: coming soon

Larger gatherings of people are also allowed from July 1, but that doesn’t mean that your favourite festival will be happening tomorrow already. There are quite some regulations still in place.

For indoor gatherings, the number of attendees is unlimited so long as people are asked about their health before they enter (at what is called a triage), there isn’t any blockage at the entrance, and the 1.5m distance can be observed. If a triage is not possible, the limit remains at 100 people. For outdoor activities, the number of attendees is unlimited so long as there is sufficient space and a triage can be provided. If not, the limit is set at 250 people.

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Municipalities will have the last say on whether a large event, like a concert or a festival, can go ahead, based on whether they think the event organisers will be able to respect the coronavirus regulations. You can realistically expect these types of events to take place from late August onwards, all going well.

Casinos, coffee shops and chilling out at home

Casinos also opened on July 1, two months ahead of what was originally projected by the government: they will also, of course, be observing the 1.5m distance rule. (But if you’re not yet feeling confident about going out into a potentially crowded spot, then here’s a list of Dutch online casinos with iDeal enabled)

Coffee shops are open for takeaway at the moment, but not yet for sitting in: this is also due to be reconsidered on September 1.

One of the things you have probably already noticed about the coronavirus times is that people have different levels of comfort. Some people might be totally happy to meet up with you in a crowded bar or casino, whereas some of your other friends might not be quite ready to do something like that yet: they might even be in a risk group. But just because you’re not fully comfortable going out doesn’t mean you have to completely miss out on nightlife in the Netherlands- it just might look a little different.

What part of nightlife did you miss the most during the corona times? Let us know in the comments below.

Feature Image: ELEVATE/Pexels

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