Mayors of Rotterdam and Amsterdam call on the cabinet to research face masks

The mayors of Rotterdam and Amsterdam have called on the government to investigate the possibility of making face masks mandatory in certain settings.

The idea is not to instantly make force people to wear face masks, but to explore how the rule could work if it became necessary, Rotterdam Mayor Aboutaleb says. That would also make a rule easier to implement if the number of new infections continues to rise. This week’s coronavirus update from the RIVM showed that the number of new cases had doubled since last week.

The Dutch government has placed a lot of faith in the 1.5m rule, Aboutaleb says, but that hasn’t worked out. “I am most concerned that the most important measure, the one we expected the most from, the 1.5 meter, has become jaded. It is meaningless to a lot of people, and that means we need to consider what’s next.” That could be a mandatory face mask rule.

Aboutaleb says that he would personally support a face mask rule where people need to wear one when outside their home. This would be easy to police: “You have it on or not.” He also noted that he has a weak legal basis to enforce some coronavirus measures that already exist, and would like this to be different. When someone tests positive for coronavirus, they are only advised to self-quarantine: they are not forced. The GGD even had a case where they called someone who tested positive for coronavirus and the person was paying at the checkout in a supermarket.

However, the Minister of Justice and Security, Ferd Grapperhaus, says that there is no need for stronger measures at the moment: instead, people should obey those already in place. He thinks we should consider the recent increase in new cases as a warning.

Do you think face masks should be mandatory? Or should people simply obey the rules that already exist? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Feature Image: DutchReview/Canva

Ailish Lalor
Ailish was born in Sydney, Australia, but grew up by a forest in south-east Ireland, which she has attempted to replace with a living room filled with plants in The Hague. Besides catering to her army of pannenkoekenplantjes, Ailish spends her days convincing her friends that all food is better slightly burnt, plotting ways to hang out with dogs and cats, and of course, writing for DutchReview.

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