Coronavirus press conference: New restrictions announced
At the press conference on Friday, July 9, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge announced a handful of new coronavirus restrictions for the Netherlands. The new rules will come into effect at 6 am on Saturday, July 10.
The rise of the Delta variant in the Netherlands
The last-minute press conference was called in order to address the rising prevalence of the highly contagious Delta variant in the Netherlands. Over the last week, the country has seen a significant rise in the number of coronavirus cases.
While De Jonge had said he expected to see cases rise after the last set of relaxations took effect on June 26, the rate at which infections are rising is too concerning not to take action.
Rutte said the new restrictions were necessary to reduce the pressure on the Dutch healthcare system. "The restrictions aren't fun," the prime minister said, "but they are necessary."
Rutte and De Jonge announce new coronavirus restrictions
Following the latest advice from the Outbreak Management Team (OMT), Rutte and De Jonge announced a handful of new coronavirus restrictions for the Netherlands:
- Nightclubs to close
- Restricting opening times for the catering industry (6 am - 12 am)
- Stricter rules for (multi-day) events and festivals
Rutte announced that, until August 13, no multi-day festivals can take place. Any event that isn't seated - indoor or outdoor - will no longer be able to take place, and the maximum capacity for these events when making use of access tests is three-quarters of the venue's maximum capacity. Everyone in attendance will now be required to remain seated and maintain 1,5-metre distance.
In addition to this, the Dutch government has brought an end to the so-called access test policy for the catering industry and nightclubs. Under this rule, venues and businesses could welcome more customers / visitors if they required a recent negative coronavirus test, proof of vaccination, or proof of recent recovery upon entry. From Saturday, this policy will only apply to venues with set seating (i.e. theatres, cinemas). This means that, in the catering industry, everyone will be required to maintain 1,5-metre distance, both indoors and outdoors.
Lastly, the Dutch government announced that, in order to be valid / accepted, access tests can be a maximum of 24 hours old instead of 40 hours old.
The importance of the basic rules
Rutte and De Jonge once again emphasised the importance of following the so-called basic rules:
- Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly
- Maintain 1,5-metre distance
- Wear a face mask on public transport and at airports
- If you’re showing symptoms of COVID-19 then stay home and get tested
Rutte also asked the public to ensure that any parties or celebrations are kept small.
The next press conference is likely to take place in early August.