First cautious steps (Or: Press conference in the Netherlands)

Prime minister Mark Rutte and RIVM director Jaap van Dissel held a national press conference this evening to discuss the corona situation in The Netherlands, including which measures could be relaxed and which needed to be extended.

Official rules in Dutch are available at Here are some highlights in English:

  • Events are cancelled through 1 September (was 1 June)
    • Festivals are cancelled (like Pinkpop)
    • No soccer games (yikes)
  • Elementary schools (ages 4-12) can open from 11 May
    • Children will go to class every other day. The day when they are not physically at school they will get online lessons (there is some flexibility with this one, as schools can adjust that as needed)
    • Special education elementary schools will completely open from 11 May with no restriction
    • Parents are asked to bring their children to school via bike or car if possible, to avoid congestion in public transportation
    • Secondary schools (ages 12-18) are not open yet, but are expected to open on 1 June
    • Daycares can also open from 11 May
      • After-school care follows the school’s schedule – it is possible on days the children attend school
      • Sports: from 29 April, children up to 12 years can train as a team, without keeping the 1.5 meters rule.
      • Sports: Children aged 12-18 can train with their team if the 1.5 meter rule is honored. No official games will be played.

And the rules that haven’t changed and will likely be in effect through 19 May:

  • It is still forbidden to visit anyone in a nursing or care home.
  • Restaurants and cafes are still only allowed to offer takeaway and delivery (no dine in option).
  • Everyone should still work from home and stay at home as much as possible
  • If anyone in the family is sick (e.g. with a fever), everyone in the family stays home
  • Wash your hands often
  • Grocery shopping should be done alone
  • Public transportation is still only to be used by those with vital occupations
  • “Contact” jobs like hairdressers, nail salons, beauty salons and similar are still closed
    • However the Prime Minister did say that dentists are allowed to open again during the Q&A session after the press conference

In the week before 19 May, the Dutch government will hold another press conference describing what measures will be lifted or extended.

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