Press conference: shops can open! But no bars or cinemas yet

After nearly a month of being in a hard lockdown, Prime Minister Rutte and his new Minister for Health, Ernst Kuipers took to the podium — and to be honest, no one really knew what was coming.

With the Netherlands counting the highest number of weekly coronavirus infections ever recorded, the cabinet had good reason to keep the country in lockdown.

However, there are also many who were calling for it to end — these include psychological experts and business owners. So what did the cabinet decide to do?

Well, unfortunately, not too much. Rutte explained that at the moment, the risk of reopening life completely in the Netherlands is simply too high. As a result, some pleas will have to go unanswered until January 25, when the measures will be reconsidered again.

Kuipers’ first press conference

Ernst Kuipers was quick to hit the floor (and with graphics in tow). He mainly spoke of the alarming rate of infections in other countries, accompanied by a variety of graphs shown on a screen — which is a new and welcome feature to press conferences.

He discussed the danger of a society coming to a standstill due to high infections, and the need to go into quarantine but also showed graphs of depressed adolescents in the country.

However, all hope is not lost, he also explained that there will be some minor relaxations to the current lockdown. Let’s get into it. 👇

Non-essential shops and businesses

Let’s start with what will change. This past week has seen a number of acts of rebellion within the retail sector. What started as a handful of shops reopening in spite of the lockdown, turned into quite a few.

And these businesses’ decisions were backed by many, including even the mayors of certain municipalities. Thankfully, the Dutch cabinet can offer a bit of hope to business owners.

As of tomorrow, non-essential shops may reopen their doors until 5 PM — and you won’t be needing to make an appointment either. 💪

Contact professions and music schools may also open again under these restricted opening hours — so yes, you can at least fix your quarantine hair.

Sports

The OMT also advised the cabinet to make sport available to young people again and this is a plea that the cabinet has heard. Physical education in secondary schools will be allowed again and indoor and outdoor exercise is allowed again until 5 PM. So yes, gyms will open their doors again and we’re all out of excuses to not go.

Sports competitions may also take place once again, however no audience is allowed. You must also show your CoronaPass (now called a CBT) before sporting if you are over 18 years old.

And it’s not just sports that will be enjoyed again but also music, drama and dance. 🎶

“Horeca” (Catering sector)

However, cafés, restaurants, cinemas and theatres will have to wait at least another 10 days before they may open their doors once more. This is because the cabinet fears that reopening these establishments during these record-breaking infection numbers may lead to even more infections.

On January 25, the Dutch cabinet will reconsider whether a trip to the cinema or your favourite restaurant will be possible once again. 🤞

Education

This week, the Dutch Association for Psychiatry sent an open letter to the Outbreak Management Team asking them to consider reopening higher education. The association pointed to a worrying increase in mental illness amongst students of third-level education.

READ MORE | The OMT advises Dutch cabinet to relax measures for education, sports, and retail

HBOs, MBOs and Universities will reopen their doors this upcoming Monday — so students can breathe a sigh of relief.

Changes to quarantine rules

Got an infected housemate? Well, you no longer have to go into a 10-day quarantine if you have had coronavirus in 2022/received your booster shot over a week ago.

Medical face masks

Another thing that we can expect to change in the coming days was our face masks. The OMT has advised that the Dutch cabinet bring in a medical face mask mandate.

The cabinet has taken this on.. kind of. As they are now asking you to swap your super basic mask in for at least a Type II medical face mask. But it’s also still “The mouth cap obligation and the advice is being expanded. No more cloth face masks.” so yes, hopefully more clarity on this in the upcoming days.

Follow DutchReview on Facebook for the latest coronavirus news and updates in the Netherlands.

Sarah O'Leary 🇮🇪
Sarah O'Leary 🇮🇪
Sarah originally arrived in the Netherlands due to an inability to make her own decisions — she was simply told by her mother to choose the Netherlands for Erasmus. Life here has been challenging (have you heard the language) but brilliant for Sarah, and she loves to write about it. When Sarah is not acting as a safety threat to herself and others (cycling), you can find her sitting in a corner of Leiden with a coffee, trying to sound witty.

1 COMMENT

  1. It is a crazy action to reopen the education when there are a huge increase in the amount of cases. I am a student at HBO and I am fine with studying online and actually I got the high result last year. I have no problem with lockdown at the HBO. Please reconsider this decision and think about the people who are gonna to die due to Covid and other desease.

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