Coronavirus press conference: Lockdown extended by three weeks
During a press conference on January 12, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge announced the coronavirus lockdown introduced for the Netherlands on December 14 was to be extended by three weeks. Instead of coming to an end on January 19, the lockdown will continue until (at least) February 9.
First coronavirus press conference of 2021
Rutte said that while it was a disappointing decision, it was an unavoidable one, and expressed concern about the spread of the new highly contagious mutation of COVID-19. De Jonge said that recent figures showed the lockdown was working, but that it was taking longer than initially expected.
The Prime Minister announced that further financial support for businesses affected by coronavirus would be made available. He also said that, thanks to the vaccines, there was "light at the end of the tunnel" but that it would take several months before change was noticeable.
All non-essential businesses, restaurants, and schools to stay closed
As was announced in the press conferences on October 13 and December 17, the following businesses in the Netherlands will remain closed for a further three weeks:
- All bars, restaurants, and cafes are closed (open for take-away)
- Coffee shops are closed (open for take-away until 8pm)
- Sale of alcohol banned after 8pm
- Schools and universities are closed
- Non-essential shops are closed (supermarkets and drugstores remain open)
- Hairdressers and beauty salons are closed
- Museums are closed
- Cinemas are closed
- Zoos are closed
- Theatres are closed
- Casinos are closed
- Theme parks are closed
- Public swimming pools and saunas are closed
- Gyms and other indoor sports facilities are closed
- Libraries are closed
- Brothels are closed
As instructed by the Outbreak Management Team, the Dutch government considered implementing a national curfew but has decided against it for now. They have asked the OMT to provide more information about what a curfew could look like and what impact it could have, or if there was alternative action that could be taken.
The government is also looking into options to allow primary schools to reopen before the end of January, but a decision is yet to be made. Rutte said the government was first waiting to see what role children played in the spread of the new mutation of coronavirus.
Coronavirus measures in the Netherlands
Alongside the enforced closures, a number of other measures remain in place in the Netherlands:
- Max. two household guests per day (excl. children under 13)
- When outside, max. group size of two (if not from the same household)
- Stay home, work from home, and limit travel as much as possible
- If you're showing symptoms then stay home
- A ban on all events (excl. demonstrations)
- Do not travel internationally (and don't book any trips before at least mid-March)
- Wear a mask in all indoor public areas and on public transport
All religious establishments are permitted to remain open so long as worshippers have assigned seating. The government also advises that group size be limited to 30 people.
A maximum of 30 people can be present at a wedding ceremony (including children). A maximum of 100 people can be present at a funeral as long as all attendees maintain 1,5-metre distance and are assigned a fixed seat.