Prime Minister Mark Rutte is expected to announce stricter coronavirus measures for the Netherlands at 7 PM.
Following a crisis meeting yesterday, cabinet sources have told RTL Nieuws that the measures are expected to be very tough. This may include the closure of all non-essential shops and transit locations such as museums and zoos.
The crisis meeting was called due to rising coronavirus numbers throughout the Netherlands and will continue this morning.
This evening’s measures will be announced from Rutte’s office The Torentje, the Dutch equivelant of the Oval Office.
Retail must be targeted
One political source has told AD that the cabinet now sees it as “logical to look at the retail trade” when considering where to close. Reports of packed shopping streets have been concerning for the RIVM with 9924 people reported as testing positive yesterday, and 9182 on Saturday.
If retail shops are closed, it’s likely that only essential stores, such as supermarkets, will remain open in the lead-up to Christmas. It will be the first time since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic that the Netherlands has fully closed the non-essential retail industry.
In yesterday’s meeting, the cabinet also turned to the question of education. The expected measures remain uncertain. However, an additional week of Christmas break is a possibility.
Whilst secondary school education can be performed primarily online, this is a much more difficult task when it comes to primary education.
Transfer locations and contact professions
The cabinet is also looking to close “transfer locations.” These include places such as museums, zoos and swimming pools. The cabinet fears that people are no longer willing to abide by necessary restrictions such as social distancing.
“It is quite sad that the current package of measures does nothing anymore, the Dutch simply don’t stick to it anymore. Shops and streets are overcrowded, no distance is kept and people with complaints no longer stay at home. The pressure on healthcare is just getting too great” one cabinet source tells AD.
Contact professions such as hairdressers will also be discussed in today’s meeting. These professions were closed during the first lockdown.
It is expected that the Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, and Health Minister, Hugo De Jonge, will announce the latest measures tonight in a press conference. This will be following this morning’s meeting and one further meeting later today.
The new measures are expected to last from the last weeks in December into — and potentially through — January.
Do you think stricter measures are needed? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Feature Image: Alexandros Michailidis/Shutterstock.com