Senate approves mandatory quarantine and access test bills
In a vote on Tuesday, the Senate (Eerste Kamer) approved two bills that will see a mandatory quarantine rule implemented and access tests used to reopen society and grant the public access to certain venues and events from June. The bills already have the support of the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer).
Using access tests to reopen cinemas, theatres, and restaurants
For months, the Dutch government has discussed the use of so-called access tests and coronavirus certificates in allowing for certain events to take place and venues to reopen. With the support of the Senate, certain sectors will temporarily make use of access tests to reopen to anyone who has recently tested negative for the virus.
The certificates will be used from stage three of the government’s five-step plan for lifting lockdown - which could come into effect on June 5 - and will be used for attendees at festivals, spectators at sporting events, as well as audiences in cinemas and theatres, and indoor diners at bars and restaurants.
Members of the public will be able to present their negative test result via the free CoronaCheck app on their smartphone. In the future, anyone vaccinated against or recently recovered from the coronavirus will not be required to get tested, and will only be asked to present proof of their recovery or vaccination.
Mandatory 10-day coronavirus quarantine in the Netherlands
The mandatory quarantine rule will see travellers from high-risk countries - with more than 500 coronavirus cases per 100.000 inhabitants - quarantine for 10 days upon arrival in the Netherlands. However, they will only be able to get tested for coronavirus after five days, and can come out of quarantine if the result comes back negative.
Travellers arriving in the Netherlands from designated high-risk areas will be required to present a quarantine statement outlining travel plans and contact details. The rule will be enforced by mayors and municipalities, but many parties remain concerned about how effectively the new rule can be enforced. Failure to comply could lead to a fine of up to 435 euros.
Health Minister Hugo de Jonge was relieved to have the support of the Senate and is optimistic that these new rules will help curb the spread of coronavirus in the Netherlands. “This is an important step for culture makers, entrepreneurs and festival-goers. What we've been craving for so long is now getting closer,” he said in a statement.