Yesterday evening, Prime Minister Rutte announced new national measures for the coronavirus, effectively bringing the Netherlands back to where it was before the summer. On top of these, major cities across the Netherlands are now urgently asking the public to wear face masks in interior public spaces.
The mayor of Amsterdam, Femke Halsema, explained that it is difficult to enforce a mouth mask obligation, so instead the mask requirement comes as urgent advice, reports RTL Nieuws. Rotterdam, The Hague and Eindhoven are advising the same, saying that shops can turn away customers not wearing masks. This applies to any public interior space, such as restaurants, museums, libraries and government buildings.
Losing our grip on the virus
Amsterdam in particular has an alarming rate of new cases, and has been classed as one of the worst regions in western Europe for the spread of the virus. GGDs are overwhelmed with tests and can no longer trace where infections have come from. Infections rates and deaths across the Netherlands have exceeded records from May and continue to rise.
Halsema is pressing the necessity to drastically reduce these figures, for people to work from home as much as possible, and for physical meetings to only occur if necessary, reports De Telegraaf.
Importance of face masks
Cabinet and city mayors expect the new regulations to result in 40% less new infections over the next three weeks. But if these measures do not work, stricter measures will be put in place.
“Only if everyone makes an effort now and adheres to the measures can we have high hopes for better times in the near future,” says Halsema. “We really do that together as a society. We can get the crisis under control with the behavior of all of us.”
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