Dutch mayors start preparations for regional coronavirus lockdowns
Mayors across the Netherlands are preparing for regional lockdowns in case the coronavirus experiences a second wave this summer. They say a second national lockdown is unlikely.
Regional lockdowns in the Netherlands
Hubert Bruls, mayor of Nijmegen, announced at the weekly Security Council meeting on Monday, July 13, that mayors of the 25 security regions of the Netherlands were getting ready should regional lockdowns be required to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Bruls, who is president of the Security Council, also announced that, should there be a second wave in the coming months, it is unlikely that another national lockdown will be enforced, and that regional lockdowns will be used instead. He said that, with the knowledge that has been acquired over the past few months, different preventative measures can now be used to stop the spread of the virus. However, for local or regional lockdowns to be effective, testing and tracing the virus, and finding the source of contamination, is essential.
It is not yet clear what regional lockdowns could look like, or what measures could be put in place. However, mayor of Tilburg, Theo Weterings, told RTLnieuws that he expects there won’t be an immediate rule to stay inside, and that events will be cancelled and businesses and other facilities closed down again.
Regional lockdowns have already been utilised in countries across Europe, including Spain, Portugal, and Great Britain, to halt the potential spread of the virus.
A second coronavirus peak this summer?
Many mayors have apparently noticed that it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain the required 1,5-metre distance when out and about, and fear that with more people travelling and going out during the summer months, the virus could flare up again. Marianne Schuurmans, the mayor of Haarlemmermeer, noted that distancing was especially difficult on beaches: "young people, in particular, like to have a party. If we have a warm tropical summer, it will be tense."
The main fear, however, is for the coming autumn. Bruls says it is important to stay vigilant and stay careful, as the virus may hibernate in the warmer months, but as people return from vacations towards the end of the summer, a second wave is possible.