Mandatory face masks in the Netherlands before Christmas?
According to Health Minister Hugo de Jonge, the mandatory face mask rule in the Netherlands will come into effect by December.
Much debate surrounding the effectiveness of face masks
The debate surrounding face masks has been a contentious one for many months now, with Prime Minister Mark Rutte hesitant to encourage the use of masks, fearing it would result in people ignoring or forgetting the 1,5-metre distance rule. However, in September Rutte issued urgent advice for the whole of the Netherlands, asking everyone to wear a face mask in all indoor public spaces.
Then, at the press conference on October 13, Rutte announced that he would fight for the legislation required to introduce a mandatory face mask rule, which would apply to all indoor public spaces. At the time, he didn’t know how long this would take, but made sure people knew the rule was coming.
Mandatory face masks in the Netherlands
Speaking at the press conference on Tuesday night, De Jonge announced the rule would likely come into effect no later than December 1. The official announcement came after a spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice and Security revealed the rule would likely be in place from December 1, “Maybe a little earlier, but that depends on how quickly we can go through the procedures."
The majority of the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer) supports a mandatory face mask rule, but the Dutch government needed a legal basis to introduce this law. This is now possible thanks to the coronavirus law which was recently passed by parliament.
This rule will apply to everyone aged 13 and older - with the exception of those who are unable to wear a mask due to health concerns - in public indoor spaces (e.g. schools and shops). It will also apply to those working in contact jobs (i.e. hairdressers and sex workers). A mask will, however, not be required for any sporting activities or the performing arts.
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