At the press conference on Friday, November 12, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge announced several new coronavirus restrictions for the Netherlands which will come into effect on Saturday, November 13.
Three-week coronavirus lockdown introduced for the Netherlands
In accordance with the latest advice published by the Outbreak Management Team (OMT), the Dutch government has decided to introduce a mini lockdown in the Netherlands in the hopes this will limit the spread of COVID-19. The lockdown will come into effect at 6pm on November 13, and will remain in place until (at least) December 4.
Under the new lockdown, the following restrictions will come into effect on Saturday:
- Enforced opening times of 6am – 8pm for catering industry and essential shops
- Enforced opening times of 6am – 6pm for non-essential shops and other service providers (i.e. hairdressers, casinos)
- Enforced finishing time of 6pm for events
- Fixed seating mandatory in the catering industry
- Coronavirus certificates mandatory at events, max.1.250 people per area (with fixed seating)
- Reinstated urgent advice to work from home as much as possible
- Reinstated 1,5-metre distance rule in all spaces where a coronavirus certificate isn’t required
- In higher education, max. 75 people per room / space (excl. staff, does not apply to rooms used for exam purposes)
- Max. four household guests per day
- No spectators at sporting events
- If a member of a household is infected with coronavirus, all other members must also go into quarantine (regardless of vaccination status)
Dutch government looking to introduce new rules after lockdown ends
In addition to announcing the new lockdown measures, Rutte and De Jonge said the cabinet was looking to introduce new rules once the lockdown lifted in December. Rutte said the three-week lockdown was needed in order to give the cabinet time to introduce the laws needed to implement the new rules.
Post-lockdown, the coronavirus certificate system will be enforced in workplaces where customers / visitors are required to present a certificate (i.e. cinemas, restaurants). It’s possible the coronavirus certificate will also be mandatory in non-essential shops.
Legislation is also being developed that would allow for businesses to enforce the so-called 2G rule should they wish to do so (i.e. only proof of vaccination or recovery is accepted upon entry). Using the 2G rule would mean businesses won’t have to adhere to the new fixed seating rule.
The government is also developing a new financial aid scheme to support the businesses and sectors affected by the new measures.
Booster shots for healthcare workers and the elderly
The government has also decided to accelerate the so-called booster shot campaign. Instead of starting in December as was initially announced, frontline healthcare workers, those living in residential care, and members of the population aged 80 and above will be able to receive their extra jab as early as November 19.
The next phase of the booster vaccination campaign will see those between the ages of 60 and 80 offered the jab, before the rest of the adult population will be able to make an appointment.
Other COVID-19 restrictions also extended
In addition to the new measures, the following rules and restrictions will remain in place until (at least) December 4:
- Face masks mandatory in public indoor areas, at hospitals, at airports, and on public transport (where no certificate is required)
- Coronavirus certificate system used for public venues (i.e. cinemas, museums)
- Ensure proper ventilation in all indoor spaces
- If you’re showing symptoms of COVID-19 then stay home and get tested
- Limit travel as much as possible
Rutte emphasised that the rules and restrictions were in place for everybody – both vaccinated and unvaccinated. The next coronavirus press conference is expected to take place on December 3.