No choice but to take summertime measures in face of rapid increase in infections

News item | 09-07-2021 | 19:15

The coronavirus infection rate in the Netherlands has increased much faster than expected since society reopened almost completely on 26 June. Most infections have occurred in nightlife settings and parties with high numbers of people. The increased infection rate does not currently pose a threat to vulnerable groups or the capacity of the healthcare system. However, such a high number of infectious people can be a risk for people who have not, or not yet, been fully vaccinated. The Delta variant is causing more cases of illness among people who are not fully vaccinated, and there have even been cases of this variant infecting people who are fully vaccinated or who have already had a coronavirus infection. The possibility of new virus mutations arising also raises uncertainty. And the lingering symptoms of ‘long COVID’ can also have a big impact on people’s lives.

All this gives the government cause for concern. We cannot discount the possibility that hospital admissions will again increase in the weeks ahead. We have therefore decided that extra measures are necessary this summer.

Measures as of 10 July 2021

The following measures will take effect from 06.00 on the morning of Saturday 10 July and remain in place until 13 August 2021:

Assigned seating and 1.5-metre distancing required in restaurants and bars

Restaurants and bars may remain open provided all visitors have assigned seats that are placed 1.5 metres apart.

All restaurants and bars must be closed from midnight until 06.00. Entertainment in the form of live performances and loud music is prohibited.

Discos and nightclubs must close again.

The coronavirus entry pass scheme, which granted an exemption from the 1.5 metre distancing rule, will be suspended for restaurants and bars until 13 August.

Assigned seating at events, cultural venues and sports venues

Cultural venues may remain open provided all visitors have assigned seats that are placed 1.5 metres apart. This also applies to visitors to events and spectators at professional sports competitions and other sports and youth activities.

Organisers may participate in the coronavirus entry pass scheme to admit greater numbers of people. In that case, everyone must still have an assigned seat and up to two-thirds of the available capacity can be used.

As of Tuesday 13 July, coronavirus entry passes can only be generated using a negative result from a test taken up to 24 hours previously (down from 40 hours).

Events may not last longer than 24 hours.

No changes for locations with a continuous flow of visitors

There is no change to the rules for locations with a continuous flow of visitors, such as shops, museums and funfairs. They may admit 1 visitor per 5 square metres.

Keep parties small and manageable

It’s important to keep following the basic rules. A lot of activities are still possible while keeping 1.5 metres apart, including parties to celebrate a special occasion. But the government would urge everyone to use their common sense and act responsibly: keep parties small and manageable, and make sure everyone stays 1.5 metres from one another – even those who have already been vaccinated. Good hygiene is important. Wash your hands regularly. Cough and sneeze into your elbow. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, stay at home and get tested as soon as possible.

Important to read travel advice in full

Travelling to other countries is still a risk, and will remain a risk. The increased infection rate in the Netherlands could have consequences for a carefree holiday abroad. Other countries may impose extra measures on Dutch tourists because they view the Netherlands’ increased infection rate as a cause for concern.

Dutch tourists might have to travel with a Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) that provides proof of vaccination, testing or recovery. Or they might have to quarantine upon entering another country. Each country can set its own requirements, so you should always check the latest travel advice before you leave on (available in Dutch only). Don’t just look at the colour coding of your holiday destination: read the travel advice in full. It will tell you exactly what measures apply for your destination country and the countries you will be passing through. Prepare well: download your Digital COVID Certificate in the CoronaCheck app or make a printout. If you haven’t yet been fully vaccinated, you can get a free coronavirus test before departure.

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