At the press conference on Tuesday, February 15, Health Minister Ernst Kuipers announced several relaxations to the national coronavirus restrictions. The first relaxations will come into effect on February 18, with most of the remaining restrictions lifting on February 25.

Dutch government lifts many national COVID-19 restrictions

The rules limiting group sizes and household guests will be lifted with immediate effect. The rule to work from home as much as possible is also being relaxed, and as of Tuesday people in the Netherlands are asked to work from home at least 50 percent of the time (instead of 100 percent).

As was confirmed by Kuipers on Thursday evening, the Dutch government has decided to lift various COVID-19 restrictions as of February 18. The following relaxations will come into effect on Friday:

  • Nightclubs to reopen
  • Extended opening times for hospitality and cultural industries (5am – 1am)

The Dutch government has also relaxed COVID-19 rules for events and the cultural and hospitality industries. 

No more 1,5-metre distance rule

As of Friday, venues where a coronavirus certificate is mandatory (i.e. restaurants, cinemas, museums, football stadiums) will no longer have to adhere to the 1,5-metre distance rule. The face mask mandate and fixed seating rule will also be lifted in these venues. Customers / audience members will still be required to present either proof of vaccination, proof of recovery, or a recent negative test. 

The same rules apply to events of up to 500 people. Fixed seating and face masks remain mandatory at events of over 500 people. Rules limiting event sizes are also lifting as of Friday.

New rules for international travel

The travel guidance issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will also be adjusted as of Friday. International travel will no longer be advised against, and the coronavirus situation in each country will no longer be used to determine the country’s colour code (red, orange, yellow, or green). This means the travel advice issued for non-EU countries will now match the system used for EU member states.

New coronavirus isolation rules in the Netherlands

In order to accommodate for the lighter COVID-19 strain Omicron, the government has also opted to adjust the national quarantine and isolation rules. As of Friday, those infected with COVID-19 will be required to quarantine for only five days (cut down from seven).

In order to come out of isolation after the fifth day, the infected person must have shown no symptoms for at least 24 hours.

Further relaxations to take effect from February 25

Looking to the future, the government will lift the majority of restrictions by the end of the month. At Tuesday’s press conference, Kuipers said the following measures would be lifted from February 25:

  • 1,5-metre distance rule 
  • Face mask mandate
  • Coronavirus certificate system
  • Enforced closing times for hospitality, culture, and events
  • Mandatory quarantine for travellers from high-risk areas

As of February 25, the 1G rule will be in place for indoor festivals and events with more than 500 people and without fixed seating. This policy will mean everyone in attendance must present a recent negative coronavirus test upon entry, regardless of vaccination status.

The so-called basic rules will also remain in place for the time being (i.e. ensure proper ventilation in all indoor spaces, stay home if you’re showing symptoms). Face masks will also remain mandatory on public transport and at airports.

While the distance and mask rules are being lifted, Kuipers advised in favour of maintaining sufficient distance and wearing a face mask in busy areas.

Next coronavirus press conference scheduled for March

With the vast majority of national restrictions due to lift before the end of February, the government is set to give another – potentially the final – coronavirus press conference on March 15.

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