Yesterday, in the weekly coronavirus debate in the House of Representatives, Prime Minister Rutte said that he didn’t foresee the catering industry being able to reopen any time soon, NOS reports.
On Tuesday, Rutte gave a press conference explaining which coronavirus rules would be relaxed after 28 April, and which not. Generally, most rules will be remaining in place until 20 May, but primary schools and daycare will be reopening after the May vacation, and children under 12 years can begin to play team sports again.
This decision was based on the RIVM director, Jaap van Dissel’s statement that children generally get the virus less often, and less severely than adults. Allowing schools and daycare to reopen will also take the pressure of parents who are working from home.
Healthcare system must recover first
But Rutte does not believe that normal life will return any time soon: he says he is already worried about whether the current relaxations will put yet more pressure on the healthcare system.
It is crucial that the healthcare system has time to recover and to begin treating all non-coronavirus patients again: for example, someone with cancer who is awaiting an operation at the moment.
Possibility that hairdressers could reopen before 20 May
At the same time, Rutte also remarked that the 20 May was not a sacred date, and that if it became possible to reopen certain industries before this date, that could happen.
There is, for example, research being done on whether hairdressers can reopen if they and their customers use face masks.
Support package very likely to be extended
This is undoubtedly a blow for the Horeca- and for those of us who were hoping to be back eating at our favourite restaurant sooner rather than later.
However, extending the current support package for industries badly hit by the coronavirus rules was also discussed yesterday in the House of Representatives. It will almost certainly be extended, with the added condition that businesses that receive it can no longer pay bonuses, dividends, or buy back their own shares.
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