The Dutch cabinet has issued a new set of emergency coronavirus guidelines to go into effect on December 15. The restrictions will last for five weeks, expiring Tuesday, January 19. This has been announced by Prime Minister Mark Rutte in a December 14 press conference.
Here’s everything you need to know about the seven new measures:
- Primary and secondary schools will close. They must revert back to online education as much as possible. A few exceptions will apply, such as for vulnerable students, students undergoing exams, or practical training. (These measures apply from Wednesday, December 16.)
- Daycare must also close. Child care options will remain only for parents with essential professions.
- All non-essential stores will close. This means all clothing shops, craft stores, and garden centres, for example.
- Essential stores that may remain open include supermarkets and other food shops, banks, and pharmacies. The full list also includes pet shops, petrol stations, parcel service points, government locations, mortgage lenders, and DIY shops (such as hardware stores) for pickup.
- Contact professions must also take a hiatus. This includes sex workers, hairdressers, tattoo artists, etc.
- Medical professionals such as dentists, dermatologists, and therapists may continue to work.
- So-called “transfer locations,” must close, these include public spaces such as theatres, museums, zoos, and amusement parks.
- Hotels remain open, although they may no longer serve food and drinks to their guests.
- Libraries may also remain open but only for borrowing and returning books.
- Community centres will stay open to provide services to vulnerable people.
Groups of people
- The maximum number of visitors in the home is two per day. This applies to people over the age of 12.
- A small exception will be made for Christmas, allowing three guests in total on December 24, 25, and 26.
- Outside, the maximum group size has been reduced from four to two people.
Sports and outdoor activities
- Gyms, saunas, and swimming pools will close.
- You may still go outside for fresh air and exercise. Outdoor exercise must be performed alone or in pairs.
- Children up to and including the age of 17 are allowed to play outside in larger teams or play outside matches with teams from their own club.
- Top athletes may continue to train and perform. No audience is allowed to come and watch.
- Only travel by public transport if absolutely necessary.
- Do not travel abroad. Do not book international travel until at least March 15.
- Domestic travel is still possible for those who wish to go to a cabin or bungalow, provided the same measures apply as in the home.
- Travellers to the Netherlands from outside the EU are required to show a negative test result and signed statement. (This takes effect from 6 PM on Tuesday, December 15.)
Work from home
- The cabinet has issued very firm advice to “work from home at all times.”
A week before the measures are set to expire, the cabinet will determine the next course of action. Meanwhile, you can read up on coronavirus testing and vaccinations in the Netherlands, or travel restrictions to the country.
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