News articles had begun to appear in the last few days saying that the government would be shifting to a new phase of “what can you do” versus “what can’t you do” during these corona times. By yesterday it became apparent that the government would holding a press conference tonight, again with the prime minister and healthcare minister. As expected, a lot of the information leaked yesterday evening and today, so there weren’t too many surprises.
The usual rules stay in place (for example, keep 1.5 meters distance, sneeze and cough into your elbow, stay home if you’re feeling sick, wash your hands often, work as much as you can from home, etc.) The one big rule change in this new phase is “avoid busy areas as much as you can” as a replacement for “stay at home as much as you can”. Which I think is a huge shift already.
Here is the relevant information page from rijksoverheid.nl in Dutch, with some points in English below.
From 11 May
- As already reported during the last press conference: elementary schools can open, daycares can open, children can exercise and partake in sporting activities outside (teenagers can as well, if they follow social distancing rules)
- Adults are now allowed to partake in non-contact sporting activities outside as long as they follow social distancing rules and shower at home, with no games allowed
- Most “contact” jobs are now allowed, including hairdressers, beauticians, driving instructors, acupuncturists, etc. Where possible social distancing rules are followed and appointments are always required, with clients and staff needing to confirm that neither are sick.
- A bit of a shock: face masks are not required, but can be used if desired provided they are not medical face masks
- Libraries are allowed to open, provided they follow social distancing rules and limit the rate of visitors accordingly
- Only use public transportation if you must, and avoid rush hour. It is advised that you wear a non-medical face mask (with this becoming a requirement on 1 June due to the government expecting an increased amount of users by then).
Sometime in June
- The government expects to be able to test anyone who asks for a test (they hope to allow this from 1 June, but cannot give a precise date yet)
From 1 June
- Non-medical face masks are now a requirement in public transportation, and public transportation operators are required to have a full schedule by this date
- Public transportation workers can request testing to make sure they don’t have the coronavirus
- Medical face masks are not allowed as there is still a shortage of those in The Netherlands for healthcare workers
- Outside terraces by restaurants can open again
- Movie theaters, restaurants, cafes, museums and other cultural institutions can open, with reservations required and agreement between the client and staff that neither are sick; with a maximum of 30 visitors and staff combined at any one time
From 15 June
- High schools can take exams
From 1 July
- Public restrooms and showers can again open at camping areas and vacation parks
- The maximum of 30 visitors for movie theaters, restaurants and similar is increased to 100 visitors
- Church services, weddings and funerals of up to 100 visitors and staff are also allowed
From 1 September
- Fitness clubs, saunas, wellness centers, coffee shops (drug shops) and casinos can open again
- Contact sports and inside sporting is allowed, for everyone
- Sporting events can again take place, but without public. This includes paid football games.
- Around this time a decision will be made about events with lots of visitors, including festivals and concerts.
The prime minister was quick to caution that the above steps are only possible if the coronavirus is kept under control.