After increasing pressure to enforce national rather than regional measures for the coronavirus pandemic, the cabinet is expected to announce new restrictions today for the whole country. These are rumoured to include smaller gatherings, earlier closing times, and no more live football fans.
For now, it has been decided that the maximum number of people that can meet in a private home (who are not already living together) is four people, inside sources told AD. Furthermore, it has been suggested that public spaces only 30 people will be allowed to congregate, including at restaurants. In outdoor areas, you can apply for a gathering with a maximum of 50 people.
It is expected that all businesses in the catering industry across the Netherlands will have to close at 10pm. Football games will be strictly forbidden to have physically present audiences.
It is being discussed as to whether or not a shopping cart will again be required to enter the grocery store, and special hours will be arranged for vulnerable groups to go buy food, reports NOS.
In addition to the rumoured national measures, new regional measures will be put in place for areas with the highest infection rates. These will be be announced tonight at the cabinet’s press conference.
Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague have the highest cases, and special measures are being designed for these cities. The cabinet is currently debating as to whether travel to these cities should be restricted to necessary travel only. Education in this instance would be classed as necessary.
Making masks mandatory for professionals who come into contact with other people a lot, such as hairdressers and serving staff, is also being discussed. Many mayors believe the current measures in the catering service need to be extended beyond just masks, saying that people should leave their name and number if they enter a restaurant.
With the outbreak of the second wave, cases have been skyrocketing around the country, and the Netherlands is currently one of the biggest hotspots in western Europe. But as much as Rutte and De Jong are working to protect the nation’s health, they are hesitant to enforce anything that could suffocate the struggling economy.
“It’s about dimensions. Measures that are too soft are not an option” a cabinet member told NU.nl. Rutte warns that national measures bring risks to the economy but also to people’s freedoms.
At 7pm this evening, Prime Minister Rutte and Minister De Jonge will hold a press conference and more measures are expected to come.
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Feature Image: DutchReview/Canva