Face mask advice in the Netherlands: Where do I have to wear a mask?
At a press conference on Monday, Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced that he strongly advised inhabitants of Rotterdam, Amsterdam and The Hague to wear face masks in shops, and that businesses would be allowed to refuse entry to anyone not wearing a mask. This advice officially came into effect at 6pm on Tuesday, so waking up this morning, you may be wondering - where do you now have to wear a mask?
A number of Dutch chains won’t follow the advice
Bart Drenth, the chairman of MKB Amsterdam - a group that represents the interests of entrepreneurs in the capital - told AT5 that, while he expected few shops to make face masks mandatory, he hoped larger chains would enforce the rule and set an example that smaller businesses would then follow.
However, it seems that some of the largest Dutch chains have decided they will not enforce a face mask rule in their shops. The first to take a stand was HEMA, who announced on Tuesday afternoon that they would allow customers without masks into their shops. The company said they didn’t feel it should be left to retailers to enforce the rule, but that they would advise customers in big cities, and make it mandatory for shop staff, to wear masks.
Blokker and Intertoys have said the same, while prominent supermarkets Albert Heijn and Jumbo have said that, while they support the government’s urgent advice, they will leave the decision with their customers.
Face masks in De Bijenkorf
Department store De Bijenkorf has said they will enforce the rule in their shops in Amsterdam, The Hague, Eindhoven, and Rotterdam. The company will station security at entrances to ensure customers are wearing masks, and will distribute free masks to those who do not have their own.
A spokesperson for the company said enforcing the rule should be possible as their shops have made use of security for some time, and so they should be capable of handling any discussions that arise because of the rule. De Bijenkorf has also made it mandatory for all staff members in shops across the country to wear a mask.
Face masks in The Rijksmuseum
Alongside advice from the Dutch government, Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema announced that in Rotterdam, Eindhoven, The Hague and Amsterdam, face masks were advised for all public indoor spaces, not just shops. This means museums, cinemas and gyms have also had to consider whether or not they will enforce the rule.
The Rijksmuseum was the first to come out on Tuesday and say that all museum visitors ages 13 and above will, from Wednesday September 30, have to wear a face mask. “Safety comes first,” said a spokesperson for the museum.
The face mask rule will also be enforced in the Anne Frank House, the Stedelijk Museum, the Van Gogh Museum and the Philips Museum in Eindhoven, as well as music venues Paradiso and Melkweg in Amsterdam. However, the Mauritshuis and Kunstmuseum in The Hague will not enforce the rule, but to make an “urgent request” of visitors to wear one.
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