Home News Health Press conference: even earlier closing hours, travel advice and more new measures

Press conference: even earlier closing hours, travel advice and more new measures

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Photo-of-De-Jonge-at-press-conference
Image: Screenshot/Press Conference

A week earlier than planned, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Minister for Health Hugo de Jonge have manned the podium at a respectable distance to announce — yep — even more new coronavirus measures for the Netherlands.

The government’s optimism since the “restriction-free summer” is long gone, with only stern warnings to be given about keeping distance, working from home, and following the new measures.

Rutte began the press conference with some reminiscing about last year, and how, just like then, hospitals are becoming overwhelmed. But there are two main differences. One: less people are ending up in intensive care. Of those who are, 70% are unvaccinated.

And difference two: we thought that once people were vaccinated, we would be able to shed coronavirus measures. However, we see now that the reality is different.

Rutte also took a moment to acknowledge that the Dutch government’s handling of coronavirus has seen some mistakes. “We are not deaf to criticism,” he said, “but we won’t run from mistakes.”

So what’s in store for you (and what does it mean for living your best Dutch life)? Here’s the rundown. As of this Sunday, November 28, the following measures will be in place until December 19.

An evening lockdown

Were you enjoying the gezellig vibes in the restaurants and cafes in the evening? Making use of the gym after work? Planning on catching Kirsten Stewart in ‘Spencer’ on the silver screen? Not anymore.

As of this Sunday, November 28, only essential shops (think supermarkets and pharmacies) will be allowed to be open after 5 PM. However, food deliveries and professional sports may continue past 5 PM.

That means a whole slew of closures across other businesses, including:

  • restaurants,
  • cafes,
  • cinemas,
  • theatres,
  • museums,
  • amusement parks,
  • gyms,
  • and amateur sports.

Rutte claims that there will be governmental support for industries, explaining that the cabinet is working towards long-term solutions with trade unions.

Essential services may also keep their regular opening times. These services include: notaries, or lawyers, mortgage advisors, and medical contact professions.

Masks in schools

Meanwhile, students from Group Six (approximately nine years and older) will now be required to wear masks when walking between classes. They will also self-test two times per week.

Rutte explains that while infections are high in schools, the impact of closing them would be too great.

Masks and distancing in venues that require QR codes

Masks will also return in places that require a QR code. When you are up and walking you must wear a mask and a 1.5-metre social distance must be kept. This will apply to venues such as in the catering industry, cinema and theatres.

This will also mean that there will be fewer visitors allowed in order to allow for proper distancing.

Stay home as much as possible

The advice remains that people should work from home as much as possible. On top of this, the government also encourages people to only travel when it is absolutely necessary. If you do have visitors, make sure to restrict that number to a maximum of four people.

Check in with each other

In a surprising turn, Rutte also brought up the topic of violence against women during this conference. He explained that yesterday saw many reports of violence against women. “There are horrible situations behind closed doors”, he said, urging that people keep an eye on one another.

Flights from southern Africa cancelled

Technically not announced in tonight’s press conference, but dominating the headlines today, is the cancellation of flights from South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini (Swaziland), Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

A new variant first detected in South Africa has scientists concerned. Hugo de Jonge made the announcement of the flight closures earlier this morning, citing the need to buy time. “What we need to do now is act as a precaution.”

Why are new measures needed?

A flood of new coronavirus infections, more or less. In the 24 hours preceding 10 AM this morning, 21,350 positive tests were reported in the Netherlands.

This is a number that has been increasing. Over the past seven days, 19% more positive tests were recorded compared to the previous week, with an average of 22,258 positive tests registered each day.

Boosters starting from next week

The initial plan was that only over 60’s would be able to receive a third booster vaccine in January 2022, however this is no longer the case.

The Dutch government has decided to hit the gas pedal on the booster vaccination effort. Additional workers from defence and from secondary education will now help administer a third vaccine shot to non-mobile elderly people from this age group starting next week.

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Feature Image: Screenshot/Press Conference.

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