Coronavirus press conference: Some measures to be relaxed
At the press conference on Tuesday, November 17, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge announced some of the existing coronavirus measures in the Netherlands would be relaxed from Thursday.
Relaxing national coronavirus measures
While restaurants, bars, and cafes (horeca) will remain closed for the foreseeable future, the following establishments will be allowed to reopen on Thursday, November 19:
The closure of these establishments was announced at the press conference on November 3 and was only expected to last two weeks. They are therefore being allowed to open as planned.
A number of measures remain in place
Some measures have been relaxed, however many remain in place until (at least) mid-December:
- Work from home as much as possible
- Limit travel / stay home as much as possible
- Ban on events
- All horeca closed (except for take-away)
- Sale of alcohol in shops and hotels banned after 8pm
- Shops close at 8pm (except supermarkets)
- Maximum 30 people for indoor areas where people are seated*
- Maximum group size of four when meeting outside (if not of the same household, excluding children under 13)
- Maximum of three household guests per day (excluding children under 13)
No new measures were announced, however, Rutte reminded the public that, once the coronavirus law comes into effect on December 1, face masks will become mandatory in all public indoor areas.
*(Amateur) theatre groups, dance groups, and bands/orchestra's are permitted to have up to 30 members (unseated) present at rehearsals and performances, with a maximum of 30 audience members at live performances.
Christmas and coronavirus in the Netherlands
Rutte and De Jonge also addressed public concern regarding Christmas, and what impact the ongoing coronavirus crisis could have on celebrations this year. The Dutch government remains wary about the possibility of a third wave happening as a result of relaxing measures too much over the Christmas period.
Rutte and De Jonge are yet to provide any certainty in regards to what this year's Christmas might look like, but De Jonge said the measures depend on what happens to the coronavirus situation in the Netherlands over the coming weeks. He also reiterated the negative advice for international travel that is currently in place until mid-January.
Rutte also discussed the upcoming Sinterklaas celebrations and asked the public to spread the festivities over multiple days to limit group sizes, saying that this year's Sinterklaas would have to be celebrated under semi-lockdown.