Everything you need to know about the government’s access test law
In May, both the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer) and Senate (Eerste Kamer) approved the cabinet’s bill to introduce the use of access tests for gradually reopening society in the Netherlands.
The new law comes into effect on June 1 - but what are access tests? And what will this new rule mean for your day-to-day life? Here’s everything you need to know about the government’s new so-called test law.
What are access tests?
Put simply, if a museum or event, for example, asks you to present a recent negative coronavirus test upon entry, then that’s an access test. The negative test will be valid for a total of 40 hours.
Only people over the age of 12 will be expected to present an access test. At the moment, even people who have been (fully) vaccinated against coronavirus will have to get tested, but in the future proof of vaccination will be accepted instead of an access test.
Where can I get tested?
You can book an appointment for an access test via testenvoortoegang. From June, approximately 225.000 free tests will be available each day across 30 sites across the Netherlands.
The GGD has said that if you get tested for coronavirus at one of their testing sites, a GGD test will also qualify as a legitimate access test. It’s not yet known whether the self-tests that are available at supermarkets, drug stores, and pharmacies across the country will be considered legitimate access tests, but at the moment it’s looking unlikely.
Which places will make use of access tests?
The Temporary Test Certificates Act (Tijdelijke wet testbewijzen) states that restaurants, theatres, cinemas, museums, events and festivals can request proof of a recent negative coronavirus test upon arrival.
However, access tests will not be mandatory - each business, cultural institution, or event can decide for themselves whether they want to make use of access tests. However, it is likely that if they chose to use access tests, they will be able to welcome more visitors or customers.
Businesses in the events sector have already voiced their support for the scheme, however, museums, cinemas, theatres, and the catering industry have been less enthusiastic.
How will places be able to check my test result?
Once tested, the result of your coronavirus test will be sent to you in an email. Using the CoronaCheck app, you can convert this information into a QR code. People will be able to check the validity of your result by scanning the QR code using the CoronaCheck Scanner app, and by comparing the information connected to the result with the information on your ID card, driving license, or passport.
If you don't have a smartphone, a physical coronavirus certificate will also be available.
For how long will the test law be in effect?
As was announced at the press conference on May 28, access tests fall under step three of the government's five-step plan for lifting lockdown - which will take effect on June 5.
The test law is only temporary, and will come into effect at the start of June. Health Minister Hugo de Jonge expects that, through the use of access tests, from the end of June many places will no longer have to stick to the 1,5-metre distance rule.
Furthermore, he has said that as more and more people are vaccinated, the access tests will become less necessary. He believes that from August, access tests will only be necessary at major events, such as festivals. He has also said that, from September, all of the basic rules (1,5-metre distance, washing hands, etc) should be lifted.
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