Dutch ease lockdown measures, masks mandatory on public transport

Corona Press conference Rutte and De Jonge - May 6
Photo credit: NOS.nl

Tonight, Dutch Prime Minister Rutte presented a ‘roadmap’ containing the gradual phasing out of anti-corona measures.

“As fast as possible, but not faster than justified,” Rutte said about the phasing out. “We can slowly go back to normal in the Netherlands, only if everyone continues to behave sensibly and abide by the rules of conduct”.

Not all measures have an end date yet. This means that working from home will probably remain the norm throughout the year. This also applies to keeping a distance of 1.5 meters, washing your hands often and coughing and sneezing in your elbow. However, in the roadmap, which Rutte described as “careful planning”, the mantra “stay at home as much as possible” has been replaced by “stay at home in case of complaints” from next week.

From 11 May:

Hairdressers and beauty salons may reopen next Monday. It’ll be compulsory for these and other contact professions, such as masseurs, to work by appointment only for the time being. While making an appointment, they need to be sure that a client has no complaints resembling corona. The distance of 1.5 meters must be maintained.

In addition, libraries are allowed to open and sports can be played again, at least as far as non-contact sports, like tennis and golf are concerned. It’s important to keep a distance of 1.5meters.

Primary schools will start again next Monday. Every time, half of the pupils will be allowed, on alternate days.

Corona Press Conference De Jonge - May 6
Photo credit: NOS.nl

From 1 June:

Public transport will operate again, according to normal timetables, but with mandatory face masks.

The secondary schools will reopen, after the Whitsun holiday, on 2nd June. People will be allowed to sit on terraces. “But only if everyone sits at a table and people keep 1.5 meter distance from each other”, Rutte explained.

Restaurants, cafes, theatres, concert halls, museums, monuments and cinemas can also open their doors again. That’s only on reservation and maintaining 1.5 meters distance. For restaurants, theatres, cinemas and concert halls, a maximum of thirty people are admitted, including staff.

Rutte did make a note that the easing of the measures, can be changed if the virus starts spreading again. “The virus must remain controllable,” he said. That’s why he used two criteria related to lifting measures: the effects on healthcare and the effects on the crowds on the streets.

‘We’ll have to live with the virus for a longer period – the normal – while we wait for the development of a vaccine,’ health minister Hugo de Jonge said. In addition, he hopes that every Dutch citizen, with complaints, can be tested for the coronavirus from 1 June. Someone who turns out to be infected will have to spend two weeks in home quarantine with his entire household.

From first of July, restaurants, cinemas and theatres are allowed to have up to 100 guests, holiday parks, campings and their toilet and shower facilities also will reopen. Though pre booking still applies here too.

The Cabinet has not yet decided when major events, such as festivals and concerts, may be organised again. This will be decided before 1 September.

Sources: Nos.nl

Translation: Chaitali Sengupta

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