Dutch government planning extensive relaxation of COVID-19 rules
Sources have confirmed that the Dutch government is expected to announce various relaxations to the national coronavirus restrictions at next week's press conference.
More coronavirus restrictions to be lifted at next press conference
Earlier this week, inside sources from The Hague told Dutch media that the government was likely to further relax coronavirus restrictions, but now new information has revealed precisely what the cabinet is planning.
According to NOS, Health Minister Ernst Kuipers will extend the opening hours for the hospitality industry. Rumours suggest the enforced closing time could be pushed back from 10pm to midnight. In addition to this, RTL Nieuws reports that nightclubs may be able to reopen, with an enforced closing time of 12am.
1G rules on the table for events and festivals
Sources have also claimed that the government's advice to work from home could be lifted on Tuesday, and that the 1,5-metre rule will no longer apply in hospitality. Finally, restrictions on group sizes and household guests are also likely to be relaxed, with the current advice to receive a maximum of four household guests per day (excluding children under 13) expected to be lifted.
Restrictions for events and festivals could also be relaxed over the coming weeks, with RTL Nieuws reporting that large non-seated events could be able to go ahead under 1G rules, meaning only those who have tested negative for COVID-19 are admitted.
Dutch cabinet hopes to lift most measures by March
Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his cabinet ministers are said to be aiming to lift the majority of coronavirus measures by the end of February. While it's worth noting that it's not yet certain what this might mean, ideas currently on the table include the abolition of the coronavirus certificate system and the 1,5-metre distance rule.
On Tuesday, Rutte said he felt "cautiously optimistic" about the upcoming press conference, and on Wednesday morning the cabinet presented a new long-term plan for a way out of the pandemic that prioritises "keeping society open."
"An open, lively society requires sharp choices and a different weighing of interests," wrote Kuipers in a letter to the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer). "Policy will no longer be conducted primarily from the burden of healthcare, but from a broader perspective, both on the social and socio-economic side as well as on care."