Rotterdam and Amsterdam mayors want face masks to be made mandatory
The mayors of Amsterdam and Rotterdam are asking the Dutch government to investigate the effectiveness of wearing face masks as protection against the coronavirus, and to consider implementing a rule that would make wearing them mandatory in the Netherlands.
Making face masks mandatory in the Netherlands
Rotterdam mayor, Ahmed Aboutaleb, believes plans should be put in place to make face masks compulsory in all public spaces, and to enforce mandatory quarantines for those who have tested positive for the coronavirus. He told NPO Nieuwsuur that, if these plans are in place, they can be implemented as soon as it is necessary.
Mayor Aboutaleb noted that there were mayors of other Dutch cities who agree with his request, most notably Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema. There have been some requests made to local municipalities for face masks to be made mandatory in certain spaces. For example, in Amsterdam, shopkeepers and businesses owners on the Kalverstraat are asking the municipality to make face masks mandatory for all shoppers.
However, Aboutaleb believes the rule should come from higher up: “There is no mandatory quarantine, no requirement for face masks. I can say on behalf of my colleague, Femke Halsema, that we believe that the face mask measure should be pre-arranged in The Hague."
Rising coronavirus infections
The weekly update published by the RIVM on Tuesday, July 21, revealed that there had been 987 new infections recorded between July 15 and July 21. This figure was almost double the number recorded in the week prior. The rise has led to increased fears of the second coronavirus wave.
Minister for Security and Justice, Ferdinand Gapperhaus, announced at a press conference on Wednesday, July 22, that the increase in infections should serve as a warning to the public, and that people should stay alert to avoid a second wave. He said, at the moment, no new measures were required, but that more locally-enforced measures may be required in the future.
The Rotterdam mayor does not believe the measures he is calling for are required immediately, but would like the legal basis of these potential rules to be considered by the government should infections rates continue to rise. He highlighted an enforced quarantine as an example: "As a mayor, I have a fairly weak legal basis. The measures are non-binding: the advice is to stay at home. I cannot force someone to do that at the moment."