Five bars open in Utrecht as part of coronavirus trial

Five bars open in Utrecht as part of coronavirus trial

Five bars in Utrecht have temporarily opened their doors as part of a Fieldlab coronavirus trial aimed at determining whether the Dutch catering industry can open safely with some coronavirus measures in place. 

Five lucky Utrecht bars welcome 300.000 customers

At midday on Wednesday, something happened in Utrecht that hasn’t happened for a while: bars opened their doors to customers. More than 500.000 people tried to book either 90- or 180-minute slots at one of the five bars taking part in the experiment, and 3.000 of them were lucky enough to nab a spot.

The five bars taking part are Hofman, de Beurs, Ubica, VinVin, and 't Oude Pierement, and while they were likely relieved to finally be able to welcome customers after being closed for almost six months, the freedom is short-lived - all five bars will be closing again on Saturday.

25-year-old Sophie was one of the first through De Beurs’ doors after travelling all the way from Den Bosch with her five housemates. “I have a job and a house and everyone around me is healthy, but I really miss the pub,” she told the press, “We have all been tested and are well monitored. If I get corona because of this, I can accept that.”

Dutch government hopes to reopen terraces on April 28

All customers are required to book a slot and are expected to show proof of a recent negative coronavirus test upon arrival. Once inside, customers and staff alike are asked to maintain the recommended 1,5-metre distance as research examine how strictly the rules are being enforced and whether or not they are followed. 

Customers are also asked to stay seated and not order drinks from the bar. The goal is for researchers to determine whether or not bars can safely reopen without leading to a significant rise in the number of coronavirus infections. They plan on presenting their findings within the coming four weeks. 

By the time the results are shared with the Dutch government, the cabinet and catering industry alike hope that bars and restaurants will be open again. According to the government’s five-step plan, terraces will hopefully reopen on April 28. “We feel supported by various mayors to open the terraces. We know that the catering industry can open: this test is to show how things work in practice,” said Dirk Beljaarts, director-general of Koninklijke Horeca Nederland, the largest union representing hospitality businesses in the Netherlands.

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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