By now, you’ve likely heard that the Netherlands will be going into lockdown tomorrow. But you’re also likely a bit confused. Is it really a lockdown? What measures will be brought in?
We have the same questions — and now, they’ve been answered by prime minister Rutte and outgoing health minister De Jonge.
Prime minister Rutte began his address to the public with a number — 16,364. The number of infections counted by the RIVM yesterday.
He points to these numbers for justification of these new measures, saying “16,000 infections on a daily basis is too much and hospitals have to postpone other essential care again, hence why we sadly have to bring bad news.”
With numbers the way they are, he explains, the Netherlands will not have a good winter unless measures are taken. “Here’s what we’re gonna do: reduce contact and go back to old measures we know for 3 weeks. After that period we’ll go into a different phase.”
The following lockdown measures will come into effect as of Saturday, November 13 at 6PM.
Horeca to close at 8PM, non-essential shops at 6PM
Catering establishments and non-essential shops will once again experience restricted opening hours. Catering establishments will close at 8PM and non-essential shops will close at 6PM. They will remain closed until 6AM.
Cinemas and theatres are an exception
While the cabinet has taken the OMT’s advice and will implement a lockdown of three weeks (instead of the two, which was recommended), they will not be implementing full-lockdown measures.
For example, cinemas and theatres may remain open throughout the lockdown — contrary to the OMT’s advice. But with reduced attendance, QR checks and fixed seating.
QR-codes will be needed at more venues
This measure has been anticipated since last Tuesday’s press conference. The use of QR-codes to gain entry will be expanded to include zoos and amusement parks as well as non-essential shops and contact professions.
Your employer may also choose to ask for a QR-code before returning to the workplace, especially if the place itself also needs to check for QR-codes (that’s you, hospitality staff). Higher education may request a QR-code — but only when it is deemed ‘necessary’.
Cabinet to prepare for implementing 2G measures
On top of these new measures, the cabinet has decided to begin preparations for 2G measures in the next three weeks. This was advised by the Outbreak Management Team (OMT).
Under this approach, people who are unvaccinated will no longer be able to receive a QR-code using a negative PCR test result. Instead, they either have to be vaccinated or have recovered from coronavirus.
A QR-code will remain necessary in order to enter bars and large scale events. De Jonge explains that these measures will be taken in order to “protect the unvaccinated.” He says that there is no “vaccination obligation” but the decision to get vaccinated or not “is not without responsibility.”
Maximum of 75 people in higher education
Within higher education, the number of people who may attend in person will be capped at 75. But not during exams.
No audience allowed at sport competitions
No more standing shoulder to shoulder with your fellow supporters. During this three week lockdown, spectators may not be present at sports events. However, sports may continue.
The cabinet has also given the following urgent advice. This means that the following are not legal requirements:
1.5 metre rule
The cabinet will also reiterated the importance of keeping 1.5 metres distance in certain situations. People must remain socially distanced from one another, in places where no QR code is required — even in parks.
However, there are exceptions such as if a person is your roommate or if you have a QR code when attending sports, taking public transport, attending school or watching Sinterklaas arrive.
Maximum of four visitors at home
The cabinet also gives the urgent advice that people should cut out any large dinner/drinking parties for the time being. As of Saturday, the advice will be that we keep the maximum number of visitors to four — even if they’re vaccinated.
Work from home as much as possible
If you haven’t kitted out your work from home set up with a proper chair, now’s the time to bite the bullet and just invest in one. Rutte and De Jonge ask that we bid adieu to the office for now and work from home as much as possible.
Financial support for companies affected by measures
There will be financial support for companies such as those in horeca and retail who will be affected by these lockdown measures. The cabinet will announce the details of this aid next week.
Booster shots to begin
De Jonge and Rutte could offer some hopeful news, however. The Netherlands will begin its rollout of a third booster shot next week. This will begin with vaccinating over 80’s as well as those who work in health care and care homes. From there, the rest of the population will be invited to receive a third dose.
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Feature Image: Press Conference/Screenshot