Tonight, Prime Minister, Mark Rutte and Outgoing Minister for Health, Hugo de Jonge stepped up to the podium and offered us some good news — infections are going down enough for the Netherlands to bring in further relaxations to coronavirus measures.
In fact, things are going so well that step three of the five-step plan to reopening the Netherlands will begin sooner than initially planned. Instead of introducing relaxations on June 9, they will begin on June 5. Rutte went so far as to say that these relaxations will “mean the end of lockdown.”
Rutte explained that the government wants cafés, restaurants, cinemas, and theatres to benefit from an extra weekend of being open.
The relaxations will mark another huge step towards reopening the Netherlands with Rutte saying “in principle, almost all locations will reopen under certain conditions. That’s a big change.”
Due to a drop in numbers
Rutte explained that this is due to the fact that infection and hospitalisation numbers are continuing to drop and vaccinations are steadily climbing. However, he warned that people must continue to follow safety measures such as washing your hands, keeping your distance, and quarantining when you have symptoms.
Indoor dining to resume
No need to bring an umbrella to dinner anymore! As of June 5, restaurants and cafés will be allowed to open their doors and set the tables for indoor dining. However, this does not mean sitting indoors for a couple of biertjes. For now, this only applies to dining.
Dining indoors will be limited to one person or household per 10m2 and a maximum of 50 people inside. As with sitting out on a terrace, you must make a reservation to dine indoors.
Extended opening hours for terraces
It’s good news for those that prefer dining al fresco, from June 5, outdoor terraces can stay open until 10 PM.
However, there will also be a limit on the number of people who may be on an outdoor terrace — a maximum of 50 people.
Even if you’re not on a terrace, you may now buy alcohol from shops and licenses up until 10PM instead of 8PM.
Exceptions to this rule
However, there will be exceptions where more than 50 people may gather. These include funerals (with a maximum of 100 guests), large venues that usually seat up to 1000 people may contain 250 people, and in cases where you are tested before entering an event.
In all of the above cases, you must continue to maintain a 1.5-meter distance from others.
Relaxations for the cultural sector
The arts sector can breathe a sigh of relief. Museums, theatres and cinemas will be able to open their doors for visitors. Visitors must make a reservation and museums must maintain one visitor per 10m2.
You will also have to make a reservation for cinemas, music venues and theatres with all reservations being for a maximum of four people over the age of 12 (children will not be counted.)
Speaking of visitors, from June 5, you may have up to four visitors in your home per day instead of two.
Adults will be able to exercise together in groups of maximum 50 people without social distancing. Youth competitions (those up to the age of 17) will also be allowed again. However, members of the public will be allowed to attend.
Competitions between those above 18 remain off the table for now, but athletes from the same club may compete against each other.
Indoor sports facilities such as changing rooms, showers, canteens and saunas will be allowed to reopen again but you must make a reservation and a health check. Whilst walking around the facilities you must wear a mask but may take it off when exercising.
A delay in the vaccination strategy
Whilst more and more people are getting vaccinated, the Dutch vaccination strategy has encountered another hiccup.
Producers of the Janssen vaccine have halted distribution of the vaccine to anyone over the age of 18. This means that it will likely be mid-July — not July 1 — by the time all adults in the Netherlands who want a vaccine, may receive their first jab.
What are your thoughts on the Dutch government’s relaxation plan? Tell us in the comments below!
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