Friday’s press conference (Or: Possible dates for lifting corona measures)

There was a press conference yesterday evening, as always with the Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte and the Health minister Hugo de Jonge. This press conference was to discuss the next (hopeful) steps.

Set in stone:

  • Higher education will be open from 30 August, with no social distancing
  • Lectures are limited to 75 students maximum (to prevent large outbreaks)
  • Testing is encouraged but not required

Possible, if all goes well, from 20 September:

  • Social distancing is no longer required anywhere (but can be practiced if desired)
  • Face masks are no longer required on public transportation (which means they are not required anywhere, although hospitals and corona test centers would probably still want to keep the rule in place for some time)
  • Businesses that want to have more than 75 guests can use the Coronacheck app. This app generates a QR code which displays a green check mark if the user is vaccinated, has a recent negative test result or has had corona in the last 6 months.
  • The strong advice to work from home where possible will be removed (they removed it for a few weeks in late June but it quickly came back during the last wave)

This will be decided and announced during a press conference on 17 September.

Possible, if all goes well, from 1 November:

  • Night clubs / dance clubs will be allowed to open again
  • The CoronaCheck app will no longer be needed for domestic use
  • All Covid-related measures will be dropped except for the base rules (hand washing, staying home if you have corona-like symptoms, coughing and sneezing into your elbow, etc.).

The government has also launched a website, prikkenzonderafspraak.com (vaccination without appointment) for anyone who has not made an appointment yet. The website lists the sites that are open without appointment so that people can walk in at a time convenient for them and get vaccinated. You then book an appointment for the second dose.

I think there is a good chance that 20 September goes ahead, but it remains to be seen if all measures can be lifted on 1 November or not. The government’s reasoning is that everyone 12 years and up has had a chance to make an appointment, and that at some point we need to go back to “normal”. The main worry is that the 1.8 millions adults who don’t yet have a vaccination would all end up in the hospital in the fall, putting too much strain on the hospitals. We will have to wait and see. I do expect the numbers to start going up again–there is no way around it as measures are being lifted. However, hopefully the numbers will keep decreasing until 30 August when higher education opens up again so that the numbers are lower in mid-September.

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