Coronavirus press conference: Some restrictions eased, curfew lifted
At the press conference on Tuesday, April 20, Prime Minister Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge confirmed that a number of coronavirus restrictions were to be lifted from next week. Terraces and shops will reopen from April 28, and Dutch higher education will partially reopen on April 26.
Relaxing coronavirus restrictions in the Netherlands
As was outlined in the government’s five-step plan for lifting lockdown restrictions, Rutte announced some measures would be eased from next Monday, but called the gradual reopening of the country a balancing act. No exceptions to the existing restrictions will be made for King’s Day on April 27.
Opening terraces and shops
Terraces will reopen on Wednesday, April 28 - but strict rules will apply:
- Terraces open from 12pm to 6pm
- One household per table, OR
- Max. of two people per table if not from the same household
- Max. of 50 people per terrace
- Reservations are mandatory
- Health checks must be carried out upon arrival
- Everyone must maintain 1,5-metre distance
Shopping by appointment has also been scrapped, and non-essential shops can reopen under strict rules:
- Max. one customer per 25 square metres
- Face masks are mandatory
- Non-essential shops can stay open until 8pm
- Weekly markets will also be able to resume
Entrepreneurs, business owners, and retailers’ associations will be jointly responsible for enforcing the necessary measures and will be expected to ensure that (shopping) streets don’t become overcrowded.
Measures for education
Universities and colleges will partially reopen on Monday, April 26:
- Students will attend in-person classes an average of one day per week
- Rapid tests will be used to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as much as possible
Dutch driving license theory exam locations will also reopen from next week.
The curfew first came into effect in January, and after three months it will be lifted at 4.30am on April 28.
Max. two household guests per day
Since February, the Dutch government has imposed a limit of one household guest per day, excluding children under the age of 13. From April 28, this rule is being relaxed slightly, allowing for a maximum of two household guests per day.
In addition to this, the government is relaxing the rules for funerals - from April 28, up to 100 people will be able to attend a funeral.
Several measures to remain in place until May 11
While Tuesday marks a significant step in the move towards reopening the country, several restrictions will remain in place until May 11:
- Coffee shops are closed (open for take-away until 8pm)
- Sale of alcohol banned after 8pm
- 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 (pools only open for lessons for children)
- Gyms and other indoor sports facilities are closed
- Libraries are closed (open for pick-up)
- Brothels are closed
- 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 government will continue to review the measures and the coronavirus situation in the Netherlands over the coming days, with the next press conference scheduled for May 3.