The cabinet declared another harsh lockdown Saturday night as the omicron variant takes on ever-increasing threats. Virtually everything is to remain closed until January 14. Outgoing prime minister Mark Rutte said he was in ‘a somber mind’ as he announced these measures. The OMT chairman Jaap van Dissel and the health minister Hugo de Jonge were also present.
An overview of all the new measures:
- At home not more than 2 persons over 13 years per day. On the 24th, 25th, and 26th December, a maximum of 4 persons above 13 years are allowed.
- The group size for people outside is a maximum of 2 persons, above age 13. The rule doesn’t apply to people from the same family.
- From Monday, December 20 through January 9, schools, secondary schools, vocational schools, colleges, and universities stay closed.
- Education can resume after the Christmas vacation. The cabinet will make a decision on this by January 3.
- The BSO stays closed until January 9. But children belonging to parents working in crucial occupations and for vulnerable children emergency accommodation will continue.
- Childcare centers, for children from 0 to 4 years old will remain open.
- All catering establishments remain closed. Ordering and take-away are possible.
- All non-essential stores stay closed. Ordering, picking up, and returning is possible.
- Essential stores, like supermarkets and drugstores, are open till 8 pm. Face masks are mandatory in indoor areas. Gas stations, pharmacies, libraries, driving schools, the notary, and lawyer services are open.
- Cinemas, museums, theaters, and concert halls, theme parks, as well as hairdressers, and beauty salons, remain closed.
- All indoor sports venues remain closed (except swimming lessons). No audience at professional sports events.
- There is a ban on events. Funerals allowed up to 100 guests. Christmas markets are not allowed.
- Limit travel as much as possible.
The measures take effect as of 5 a.m. Sunday morning. This is the second year that the Netherlands spends Christmas in lockdown. According to Van Dissel, Omicron will be the dominant COVID-19 strain in the Netherlands before the end of 2021, replacing the Delta variant.
Source: Omroep Brabant
Translated and compiled by Chaitali Sengupta