Jan 15, 2022 @ 7:28am
Lockdown ends Saturday : shops in the Netherlands reopen
Since the lockdown, the streets in the Netherlands have been significantly emptier. Photo: dpa/Peter Dejong Netherlands The hard lockdown ends on Saturday. Theaters, cinemas and restaurants will remain closed. What was decided in the Netherlands.
Perhaps the public pressure had become too great in the past few days. Surprisingly, the Dutch cabinet of Prime Minister Mark Rutte passed extensive opening steps on Friday evening and declared the hard corona lockdown, which has been in force for almost four weeks, to be practically over. Entrepreneurs, retailers, restaurateurs and mayors had appealed in the past few days that the Netherlands should no longer be the only country to shut down public life. Some officials even called for civil disobedience. “The pressure from all sides is increasing, but not everything can be done at once,” said Prime Minister Mark Rutte. But what exactly was decided? Non-essential shops are allowed to reopen from Saturday between 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. It is not necessary to make an appointment, but only a limited number of customers per square meter are allowed. Fitness studios are allowed to welcome athletes again, hairdressers and sex workers can also work again. The universities are allowed to teach students in person. At home, people are also allowed to receive four people instead of two. Medical masks are recommended by the government in places where social distancing cannot be maintained, such as markets or workplaces. The easing goes beyond the recommendations of the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) expert council, which advises the government and recommended shopping by appointment only.
Theaters, cinemas and restaurants will remain closed. Sporting events have to do without an audience. However, in order to accommodate the crisis-ridden sectors a bit, the government wants to reassess the corona situation earlier than planned. That means: As early as January 25, the cabinet wants to decide whether the cafes and restaurants can reopen. The pressure on the government had recently come from the province of Gelderland, which borders Germany. 21 mayors declared in an open letter on Wednesday evening that the limit had been reached for shops, restaurants and the sports and cultural sectors. The resistance was particularly evident in the small community of Didam near Emmerich. The retail association had announced that many shops would open on Saturday – regardless of government guidelines. The municipal administration had declared that it would not take action against retailers who acted in this way and would not impose any fines. The corona numbers are still skyrocketing in the kingdom, the omicron variant has made the infection process much faster. More than 30,000 new cases are reported every day, the weekly incidence is 1,280 infections per 100,000 inhabitants – and the trend is rising. One reason why the Netherlands was the only European country in a lockdown is related to the manageable capacities in intensive care units. There are just under 1,200 intensive care beds nationwide, seven per 100,000 inhabitants. For comparison: In Germany there are almost 48 beds per 100,000 inhabitants. It is therefore not surprising that Mark Rutte’s fourth cabinet, which was sworn in a few days ago, wants to increase the capacity in the hospitals in the coming years. The infrastructure is to be expanded and more staff hired. The goal is clear: there should be no further lockdown.
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