Today, there are 8,603 confirmed cases of people infected with this novel strain of the coronavirus in the Netherlands. Lots of people are staying home and getting bored. The weather is beautiful, which means many of these people will want to get outside.
Forest rangers at the province of Brabant’s nature reserves will, therefore, be on edge this weekend. “Extra rangers will be employed for any immediate and necessary intervention,” says Erik de Jonge from the Brabants Landschap. “The change in rules is not very surprising.”
“We saw people ignoring the corona guidelines and crowding the reserves.” Ranger De Jonge from the Brabantse Wal says, “It was an extremely busy weekend. People were clustering and cycling close together. That was not what they were meant to do”.
The forestry department will be implementing stricter measures for the coming weekend. “We will assess the situation on an hourly basis. If it gets crowded, we will immediately close the nature reserve and parking spaces”, says a spokesperson. They will warn people using information boards too.
If necessary, the park rangers will also address their behavior. Instead of preventive closure of the space, it is better if people use common sense. “If you visit the forest this weekend, avoid busy places. And, if you see that the parking spots are full, drive on to another reserve”.
The government had already announced additional coronavirus preventative measures earlier this week. “Given that people largely work from home all week, we understand that they want to spend some time into nature.” However, people should avoid forming groups at all costs.
The platforms where people usually gather for bird-watching are already closed. A few sighting spots are, however, open. National guidelines should still be followed there. “Let’s not forget we are in one of the most beautiful seasons of the year. Birds are beginning to breed. It is a wonderful, relaxing thing to enjoy Brabant’s natural beauty”, concludes the forest ranger.
Editor: Melinda Walraven