Tuesdays have become synonymous with the Acting Dutch Minister Mark Rutte’s press conferences. These are concerning the government’s measures in its effort to control the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
“Better times are ahead,” he began. But according to Rutte, since infection rates are on the rise again, the third wave is inevitable. “That’s a reality we have to deal with.”
He said the Netherlands is now entering a phase in which the government’s prepared to take risks. “Albeit limited and well-considered,” he added. So there will be some relaxation of the anti-corona measures.
Highschools and colleges can open on 1 March. Students can attend classes for at least one day a week, with online schooling for the remainder of the week. They must still keep 1,5m from each other and wear masks. Breaks and class times will be staggered. The sites will all still have demarcated walking routes.
Contact professionals can start up again on 3 March. These include hairdressers, beauticians, nail stylists, and masseuses. But not sex workers. Clients need to make appointments and must get the all-clear when they arrive. “It’s important to open these professions. Not just for the business owners, but also for the well-being of all their clients,” said Rutte.
Shops can also cautiously get back to business from 3 March. Shoppers must make an appointment, four hours in advance. Two people are allowed in at once, and there may not be more than six people in the store per hour.
From 3 March onwards, everyone aged 27 and under can play sports outside in groups at their own sports club. This only applies to training sessions and inter-club competitions. Competitions aren’t yet being resumed.
The curfew remains in place until 15 March. Still only one visitor per home is allowed. All other measures are valid until 15 March too. There will be another press conference on Monday 8 March to decide what happens after 15 March.
The roll-our of the vaccination programme spells the beginning of the end for the corona crises. “But that end is still a while away,” added the Dutch Minister of Health, Hugo de Jonge. He says the effects of these vaccinations are slowly beginning to show.
The number of COVID-19 infections in nursing homes is decreasing, he says. But people must guard against the ‘we’re almost there’ feeling, he says. “Because we’re not there yet, not even nearly.”
Translator: Melinda Walraven