Dutch government expected to relax COVID-19 restrictions next week
The cabinet plans to relax a number of coronavirus restrictions at next week’s press conference, Dutch TV show Nieuwsuur has reported.
Nieuwsuur: The Netherlands can expect COVID-19 rules to be relaxed
Sources from The Hague have informed Nieuwsuur that the Dutch government is feeling optimistic about the national coronavirus situation and is planning on lifting further restrictions at the press conference next week.
On Monday’s show, political correspondent Arjan Noordlander said the cabinet felt “there is no longer any indication that the coronavirus figures will lead to panic or problematic situations,” pointing out that many older and more vulnerable members of the population had received their booster shot and so were better protected against the virus, and that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 appeared to lead to mild symptoms, especially amongst young people.
While Noordlander was quick to emphasise that not all restrictions would be lifted next week, he said people could look forward to “fuller football stadiums and theatres” and a later closing time for bars and restaurants. Furthermore, he acknowledged the fact that the cabinet was aware of the growing pressure to abolish the coronavirus certificate system, and planned to reevaluate the efficacy of the policy ahead of next week’s press conference.
Dutch government facing growing pressure to relax restrictions
Since the government lifted the final lockdown restrictions at the end of January, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his cabinet ministers have seen frustrations grow amongst fellow MPs and members of the public, with petitions calling for coronavirus certificates to be scrapped receiving overwhelming support in recent days.
The Dutch nightlife and events industries are also becoming increasingly frustrated with the government’s approach, confirming on Monday evening that the De Nacht Staat Op protest would be going ahead as planned on Saturday. Dozens of nightclubs and music venues across various Dutch cities have already signed up to take part in the national protest.
The current package of COVID-19 restrictions are set to remain in place until March 8, but the cabinet is due to reevaluate the national coronavirus situation next week, with an update expected at a press conference with Rutte and Health Minister Ernst Kuipers on Tuesday, February 15.