The Netherlands tightens coronavirus measures, initially for 3 weeks

Mark Rutte and Hugo de Jonge at a press conference on 28 September.

Dutch Health minister Hugo de Jonge announced on Monday new plan to stem the spread of Covid-19, as the government expects the number of positive cases a day to reach 5,000 by next week. The new measures, which will last for an initial three weeks, focus on reducing social contacts, De Jonge said, cited by local media.

Most measures are to be applied nationwide, although they include a recommendation that face masks be worn in shops in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. Travel should be restricted as much as possible and working from home should again become the norm. Companies where a cluster is identified can be closed for up to two weeks. The government is also introducing a 40 person maximum on outdoor events, and a 30 person restriction inside cafes, bars and restaurants. Groups are to be limited to four, while people are advised to have no more than three visitors over the age of 13 to their own homes. Cafes and restaurants must now close their doors at 9pm and everyone must have gone home by 10pm. Supporters are also being banned at both professional and amateur events for the three-week period. Sports club canteens will also be shut. Shops are to bring back the door policy to make sure their customers are keeping their distance They are also being asked to [re]introduce periods twice a day when people in vulnerable health can shop.

“I realise this is a bitter bill for companies,” PM Mark Rutte said. ‘But this is about the sum of the whole, not one sector in particular. We have to share the pain.” He added that talks on the current package of help for companies will be discussed with unions and employers in the coming days.

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