At the press conference on Tuesday, January 25, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Ernst Kuipers lifted the last remaining national lockdown restrictions, announcing the reopening of both the hospitality and cultural industries. Other COVID-19 restrictions will remain in place until (at least) March 8.
Dutch government lifts lockdown restrictions
At the last press conference, Rutte and Kuipers confirmed that non-essential shops and contact professions would no longer be under lockdown. Now, the Dutch government has decided that the final restrictions announced as part of the hard lockdown in December will be dismissed.
On Wednesday, January 26, the following relaxations to the Netherlands’ restrictions come into effect:
- Hospitality businesses to reopen
- Theme parks to reopen
- Zoos to reopen
- Museums to reopen
- Theatres to reopen
- Cinemas to reopen
- Saunas to reopen
- Casinos to reopen
- Ban on events lifted
- Spectators allowed at sporting events
While many restrictions are being lifted, various rules will be in effect in order for society to reopen safely and responsibly:
- Enforced closing time of 10pm for hospitality, culture, events, and sports
- Enforced closing time of 10pm for essential shops / services (i.e. supermarkets, pharmacies, libraries)
- Coronavirus certificates mandatory in public indoor areas (for everyone over 13)
- In transfer / flow locations (i.e. shops, museums) one customer per five square metres, up to max. 1.250 people in indoor spaces / events
- Mandatory fixed seating for indoor venues / events (i.e. restaurants, theatres)
- At events / venues with fixed seating, max. one-third capacity
- Max. 1.250 people per area at sports, events, and cultural institutions
- Events of more than 1.250 people only permitted outdoors
- Events without fixed seating (i.e. festivals) remain banned
The Netherlands introduces nine-month limit on vaccine certificates
As was discussed earlier this month, the Dutch government has decided to introduce a nine-month limit on the validity of coronavirus certificates. As of February 1, the following rules will apply:
- Vaccination certificates valid for a maximum of 270 days
- Recovery certificates valid for a maximum of 180 days
With vaccines now only recognised as valid for nine months, members of the public will soon be required to have received their booster shot, or also be recently recovered or negatively tested for COVID-19 in order to have a valid QR code in the CoronaCheck app.
Dutch government amends COVID-19 quarantine rules
Following the latest advice from the Outbreak Management Team (OMT), the government has also opted to amend the current quarantine rules. The following people will no longer be required to self-isolate after coming into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 if they aren’t showing symptoms and:
- Are under the age of 18 and attends childcare, primary education or secondary education, or
- Are a higher education student under the age of 18, or
- Work in a key job, or
- Received a booster shot over a week ago, or
- Tested positive for COVID-19 less than 8 weeks ago
The government hopes that these changes will allow schools to continue in-person teaching with fewer disruptions and result in fewer staff shortages.
Some coronavirus measures extended until March 8
While many restrictions are being lifted or relaxed, a number of basic measures will remain in place until (at least) March 8. These include the directions to:
- Wear surgical masks at hospitals, at airports, on public transport, in higher education, in indoor public areas, and outdoors when no distance can be maintained (mask can be removed indoors when seated)
- Ensure proper ventilation in all indoor spaces
- Stay home and get tested if you’re showing symptoms of COVID-19
- Limit travel as much as possible and avoid crowds
- Work from home as much as possible
- Maintain a 1,5-metre distance
- Receive max. four household guests per day (excl. children under 13)
The government will reevaluate the COVID-19 situation, with the next press conference scheduled to take place in three weeks.
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