Coronavirus press conference: Some measures likely to lift next week
At the press conference on Tuesday, May 11, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge tentatively announced a handful of relaxations for the national coronavirus restrictions. If the number of hospitalisations continues to decline over the coming week, gyms, zoos, theme parks, and a number of other outdoor spaces will be permitted to reopen on May 19.
Some restrictions could be lifted on May 19
A handful of coronavirus restrictions are set to lift on May 19:
- Extending opening times for terraces (6am - 8pm)
- Gyms and other indoor sports facilities to open (max. 30 people)
- Theme parks to open (only the open spaces)
- Zoos to open (only the open spaces)
- Open-air cultural spaces to open (sculpture gardens, open-air theatres, etc)
- All workers in contact professions to return to work (brothels to open)
- Outdoor team sports allowed for all ages (max. 30 people)
The Dutch government feels that the coronavirus outlook is relatively stable and optimistic, but acknowledges that this might change over the coming days, and that the number of coronavirus patients in hospitals remains high.
Therefore, a final decision on whether or not the above relaxations will go ahead will only be made on Monday, May 17. If hospital admissions fall by 20 percent the relaxations will go ahead, but if hospitalisations suddenly rise (again), the relaxations will be postponed. Rutte did say that he did not expect this would be necessary.
Dutch government reveal travel advice for summer 2021
With the summer holidays fast approaching, many have been wondering whether they can book a trip abroad to visit friends or family. At the press conference, De Jonge announced that from May 15, the government will provide travel advice for each individual country (coding each country either yellow or orange depending on the number of coronavirus infections).
If a country is yellow, De Jonge said members of the public could travel there, but asked that people stick to the coronavirus rules even when abroad. If a country is orange, the government asks the public to only travel there if it is absolutely necessary (i.e. not for a holiday).
De Jonge also reminded the public that the codes could change over time - a country currently coded yellow could quickly change to orange.
Several measures to remain in place until June
While there is some hope for next week, several coronavirus measures will remain in place until June:
- Coffee shops are closed (open for take-away until 8pm)
- Sale of alcohol banned after 8pm
- (Indoor) Museums are closed
- Cinemas are closed
- (Indoor) Theatres are closed
- Casinos are closed
- Libraries are closed (open for pick-up)
- 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
- Wear a mask in all indoor public areas and on public transport
The next press conference is scheduled to take place on June 1.