18 November 2021, by Victoria Séveno
The House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer) has voted in favour of expanding the coronavirus certificate system to non-essential shops.
MPs vote in support of expansion of coronavirus certificate system
At a press conference on November 12, Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced plans to introduce new, tougher coronavirus restrictions, once the current so-called lockdown is lifted on December 4. The plans mostly comprised of expanding the use of coronavirus certificates to certain workplaces and non-essential shops.
However, in order to implement these rules, the cabinet had to ensure it had the support of MPs. While this week has seen significant debate within the House concerning the use of COVID-19 certificates and the introduction of so-called 2G rules, on Wednesday evening MPs voted in support of the use of certificates for all non-essential shops.
It is not yet known whether the rule will be enforced – that depends on the spread of COVID-19 over the coming weeks and the advice from the Outbreak Management Team (OMT).
House of Representatives continues to discuss proposed COVID-19 rules
While the House has shown support for the expansion of the current rules, two political parties – ChristenUnie and People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) – have submitted a bill calling for businesses to be given the freedom to decide whether they’d rather follow the coronavirus certificate rule or enforce the 1,5-metre distance rule.
In addition to this, a motion has been submitted calling for the CoronaCheck app to be adapted so that, after testing positive for COVID-19, vaccinated people temporarily lose access to their QR code. While the motion has received overwhelming support from MPs, Health Minister Hugo de Jonge warned that a change to the system “would greatly affect the privacy aspects of coronavirus certificates.”
The House still has a number of bills on the agenda. The VVD / ChristenUnie bill will be voted on Thursday, and MPs continue to debate the extension of the certificate system for higher education, certain workplaces (i.e. cinemas, restaurants), and the introduction of 2G rules (certificates only for vaccinated and recovered people) for non-essential locations.