Coronavirus update: New national measures announced
At the press conference on Tuesday, October 13, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge announced additional coronavirus measures for the whole of the Netherlands, which will come into effect at 10pm on Wednesday, October 14.
The measures will be in place for (at least) four weeks. De Jonge stated that if these new measures were not followed, or if they were not effective, then a complete lockdown would be unavoidable.
Speaking at the press conference, Rutte said the aim of the new measures was to limit social contact and movement. He stated that the responsibility of limiting the spread of the virus belonged to everyone in the Netherlands ("het is aan ons allemaal").
Coronavirus measures for the Netherlands
Rutte announced that schools in the Netherlands would remain open.
- Work from home as much as possible
- Limit travel as much as possible (only travel when absolutely necessary)
- Stay home as much as possible
- Maximum of three household guests per day (excl. children under 13)
- Maximum group size of four when meeting outside (if not of the same household, also excl. children under 13)
- Maximum 30 people for indoor areas where people are seated
- Maintain 1,5-metre distance (even when wearing a mask)
- Ban on events (i.e. funfairs, open-air concerts)
Catering industry and shops
- All bars and restaurants to close (open for take-away)
- Coffee shops to close - open for take-away until 8pm
- Sale of alcohol banned after 8pm
- Consumption of alcohol in public banned after 8pm
- Late-night shopping is cancelled - enforced closing time of 8pm for shops (not supermarkets)
- Hotels can stay open, and can keep their eateries open to feed their guests
Rutte announced that the rule already in place to ensure shops monitor the number of customers in their shop at one time will be more strictly enforced. He also said that, if a shop fails to stick to the rules, it can be closed immediately without warning.
- Gyms and fitness clubs to stay open
- Swimming pools and saunas to stay open
- Amateur sport for those over the age of 18 - max. four people rule applies (i.e. running group of four people is allowed to continue)
- Amateur sport for children under the age of 18 can continue, but all competitions and matches are cancelled, changing rooms and showers to close
- No spectators allowed
- Sports cafeterias to stay closed
Prime Minister Rutte emphasised the importance of the colour-coded system currently in place when travelling abroad. He asked the public not to travel anywhere that was coded orange or red. He also reminded anyone going on holiday within the Netherlands that the rule of four would also apply to the travelling party, and asked people not to do too many small trips away from their accommodation when travelling.
The discussion for mandatory face masks is ongoing. Rutte stated that he would carry out the necessary legal steps to introduce a mandatory face mask rule. The rule will apply to all indoor public areas, i.e. shops, schools, and cinemas. Rutte reiterated the current urgent advice to wear a mask in all indoor public spaces.
The Dutch government’s coronavirus-law has passed through the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer). The law was first presented in the spring, and aims to provide a stronger legal basis for coronavirus measures. In Tuesday afternoon’s vote, an overwhelming majority voted in favour of the law. Now, the law must face a vote in the Senate (Eerste Kamer).