Since 18:00 this evening residents of The Hague have been strongly advised (but not legally required) to wear a face mask when inside a shop. When I went to Albert Heijn this morning I would say about 60% of those I saw in the store were wearing a mask, even though it wasn’t 18:00 yet.
This does put retail in a tough position. Bijenkorf (a high-end department store) has said they will require face masks in the larger cities where the advisory is in place. Most shops have declined to do so at the moment, however. It is asking a lot of workers to also control face mask usage. The stores would prefer that the government adjusts the law so that it is legally required across the country. At the moment the law does not support the government forcing its citizens to wearing a face mask; it can be challenged in court.
More and more cabinet members are in favor of requiring face masks across the country, versus the regional measures that are in place now. NOS.nl has this article in Dutch: Steeds meer stemmen in Tweede Kamer voor mondkapjesplicht (More and more politicians in the House of Representatives are in favor of a face mask requirement). I think the government will wait and see what the effects are for the recent measures first before adding new ones, however. It depends on how the country is doing in about 10-14 days.
The Dutch ministry of Health has also released their weekly Covid-19 statistics – see more at rivm.nl in English. It is to be expected. For instance there were 19,326 cases in the last week compared to 13,471 cases in the week before that.
I just read that The Hague’s library system has requested that all visitors wear face masks. They have also requested that you register your visit and answer some health related questions, preferably in advance although at the door is possible as well. In that case you can either scan a QR code to register online or fill out a paper form if the other options aren’t possible. For the moment both links are in Dutch; it’s not available on their English website (yet).
I’m hoping that the events of the last few days lead to face masks because more normalized in Dutch society. Time will tell.