Some Utrecht bars to reopen as part of Dutch government’s trial

Some Utrecht bars to reopen as part of Dutch government’s trial

A number of bars and cafes in Utrecht will soon reopen their doors as part of a trial designed by the Dutch government to investigate how the catering industry can open in a safe, responsible, and coronavirus-proof way. 

A handful of Utrecht bars to reopen this spring

In spite of the recent rise in coronavirus infections and the government's decision to extend the national lockdown, it has been confirmed that the trial in Utrecht will go ahead as planned, but on a slightly smaller scale. It is not yet known which bars the municipality will select to take part in the trial. 

Researchers are hoping to use establishments in Utrecht to investigate how business owners, their staff and their customers deal with the restrictions, and will observe how well the rules are being followed and the quality of ventilation in the establishment. Researchers will also monitor how customers interact with one another and how many people they come into (close) contact with.

Prospective customers will have to be able to provide proof of a recent negative coronavirus test and will have to reserve a table in advance via a specific app. Inside the bars, all customers and members of staff will have to maintain 1,5-metre distance from each other.

Dutch government investigating ways to safely reopen society

These trials in Utrecht mark the latest in a long line of projects given the go-ahead by the Dutch government. Fieldlab Events has already held a number of coronavirus-proof trial events, and this week the government announced plans for trial package holidays to take place over the coming months. The concrete plan for the trials in Utrecht is set to be drawn up in April.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte had initially hoped to allow terraces to reopen in time for the Easter weekend. However, at the press conference on March 23, he announced that this would not be possible, as the coronavirus infection rate remained too high.

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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