The Dutch government announced during last week’s press conference that face masks would be required on public transportation from 1 June (information from rijksoverheid.nl in English and Dutch). By law you are not allowed to wear medical masks as those are needed for the hospitals and hard to find. Although I haven’t heard about fines if you do wear one (yet).
While we don’t have plans to use public transportation in the near future, you never know what emergencies can come up. A few days ago we also saw a sign on the window of the local Asian store saying they were selling face masks. I believe it was 10 face masks for €9 but don’t hold me to that.
It was the same small Asian store I mentioned a few days ago – it used to be known as ‘Amazing Oriental Markthof’ and is a few doors down from Simonis in the Stad and sandwiched between ‘Spicy Chicken’ (no joke, that’s the name – so creative) and LA American food.
It’s nothing special, but at least we’re prepared. Jaap van Dissel, head of the infectious diseases department at the public health institute RIVM admits that the use of face masks on public transportation is more of a political choice than a health choice: they only stop 5% to 10% of droplets from entering, and they let through anywhere from 40% to 80% of droplets during a cough or sneeze (article at DutchNews.nl).
But hey, it’s a small thing to do when public transportation can’t be avoided. So far my game plan has been to avoid it, though.