The Netherlands to reintroduce social distancing regulations

A press conference was held in DenHaag this evening by Premier Mark Rutte and Minister Hugo de Jonge from Ministerie van Volksgezondheid, Welzijn en Sport. They announced the reintroduction of regulations being implemented from Saturday 06 November. This is in order to slow the spread of Covid across the Netherlands.

"The number of infections in the Netherlands has risen sharply in recent weeks. More and more people are being admitted to hospital. The number of Covid patients in ICUs is now increasing at speed, and according to calculations may increase even further. The RIVM expects a peak of 500 Covid patients in ICU's this winter. To ensure that we can continue to offer everyone good care and to protect the vulnerable in society from the increased presence of the coronavirus, the Kabinet is taking extra measures to slow down its rapid spread. In doing so, the Kabinet wants to keep society as open and safe as possible. These measures come on top of the rules that already apply, such as the closing times for the catering industry and the maximum number of 75 per cent capacity for indoor events without seats.

More attention to the basic rules

First of all, it is very important that everyone continues to follow the basic rules, whether or not you have been vaccinated. The better we do this together, the less the virus can spread and the fewer restrictive regulations will be needed. The basic rules have been shown to help prevent infection.

The basic rules include:

  • Get tested if you have symptoms: stay at home and get tested at your local GGD. Even if you have already been vaccinated.
  • If you test positive: stay at home and avoid contact with others, even if they have been vaccinated.• Maintain 1.5 metres distance. Protect yourself and others.
  • Do not shake hands.
  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly.
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow.
  • Make sure there is sufficient fresh air and ventilation in indoor areas.

Working from home and advice for travelling

As of 3 November, the prevailing advice has been tightened to 'work at home at least half the time'. We know that working from home is an efficient way to prevent the spread of Covid. It helps to reduce the number of contact moments.

For people who do have to go to work or go out in their free time, the call is: avoid crowds on the road and travel outside rush hour as much as possible.

Face covering obligation

As of 6 November, the requirement to wear a face covering will apply again at more locations. Face coverings are once again mandatory at all public indoor locations where no corontoegangsbewijzen are used.

This applies to, among others:

  • In all publicly accessible buildings inside and covered areas where no coronatoegangsbewijs is used such as:
    • Supermarkets, shops, libraries, gaming venues, amusement parks.
    • Public transport, in stations, including shops at the station, on platforms and at tram and bus stops.
    • At airports and in aeroplanes.
    • When moving around in tertiary education institutes, colleges and universities. When sitting down, the face covering may be removed.
    • When carrying out contact professions (such as chiropractors and beauticians), where necessary, this applies to both clients and service providers.

In these places, wearing a face covering is mandatory. You risk a fine of EUR 95 if you do not wear a face covering.

Widening the use of the coronatoegangsbewijs

From 6 November onwards, the mandatory use of the coronatoegangsbewijs will apply in more places. The use of a coronatoegangsbewijs reduces the chance of the virus circulating. By only admitting people who have been cured, vaccinated or tested, the risk of infection is considerably reduced for all visitors. The coronatoegangsbewijs does not rule out the possibility of infection. It ensures that everyone can come together as safely as possible. In addition, the use of the coronatoegangsbewijs helps to keep most locations open at maximum capacity.It is important that at every location where a coronatoegangsbewijs applies, it is scanned and the ID is checked and that everyone visiting such a location shows the personal QR code and a valid ID.

As of 6 November, the coronatoegangsbewijs is mandatory for:

  • Bars and restaurants, both indoors and outdoors (eating and drinking establishments), except for take-away.
  • Casinos.
  • Cultural venues such as theatres, concert halls and cinemas.
  • Transit locations in sectors where the coronatoegangsbewijs is already compulsory. These are therefore locations where there is a throughput of visitors, such as museums and monuments.
  • Flow-through events. These are events where the public does not have a fixed location and where there is a through flow of people. For example fairs and certain sports events.
  • Events with and without a fixed seat, such as festivals, parties and performances.
  • Business events, such as fairs and congresses.
  • Spectators at sports events, both professional and amateur. The audience at amateur matches excludes youth up to 18 years of age.
  • Organised sports from the age of 18, such as: gym, group lessons, football, swimming. This applies to athletes and spectators at all indoor and outdoor sports locations, including sports canteens.
  • Organised extra-curricular art and culture education from 18 years of age, such as: music lessons and painting lessons. Or, for example, rehearsals for singing, dancing and acting.
  • Organised youth activities for children up to the age of 18 are exempted from the use of the coronatoegangsbewijs.

You will receive a coronatoegangsbewijs if you have been fully vaccinated, have a recovery certificate or have a negative test result that is no more than 24 hours old. Testing remains free for those who do not have a recovery or vaccination certificate.

With the CoronaCheck app, anyone who is eligible can retrieve their certification. It is also possible to show certification on paper. For the hospitality industry and organisers of events, sports and cultural activities, the CoronaCheck Scanner app is available, which can be used to check the coronatoegangsbewijs.

Booster vaccination

In December, the booster vaccination will start for all people of 80 years of age who can come to a GGD location. A start will also be made with offering a booster vaccination to all adult residents over the age of 18 who live in a care facility with its own medical service. This means that these people can get an extra vaccination on top of the two they received earlier (or after one shot with the Janssen vaccine) as an extra protection against serious illness and hospital admissions. Starting in January, people between 60 and 80 years of age will then be vaccinated, with the oldest of this group receiving an invitation first. Next month, we will also start offering a booster to healthcare workers with direct patient contact.

Preview

The Dutch government is preparing other measures that we may need in the near future if we fail to reverse the trend. Where visitors are already asked for a coronatoegangsbewijs, for instance in the hospitality industry, the Kabinet wants the employer to ask their employees for a coronatoegangsbewijs card as well. We also want to make it possible for employers in other sectors to opt for coronatoegangsbewijs. This possibility should also be offered to the care sector. Both for employees and for visitors. And finally, the Kabinet wants to be able to introduce the coronatoegangsbewijs in other places where many people come together every day. Like in non-essential retail. But also in zoos and amusement parks. These measures must be able to be used specifically in villages and towns with low vaccination coverage and where the number of infections and hospital admissions is high.

These measures are being prepared. In consultation with, for example, employers and employees. And they require parliamentary approval. The situation will be reassessed on 12 November on the basis of an OMT recommendation."

As always, if you require further clarification on any of the points listed please do contact us via direct message on our social media channels or em.power@rtvmaastricht.nl and we will do what we can to contact the government agencies involved and supply you with the information that you need.