Netherlands extends lockdown until 9 February 2021
Premier Mark Rutte and Minister Hugo de Jonge from Ministerie van Volksgezondheid, Welzijn en Sport held a press conference in Den Haag this evening. They confirmed that the current lockdown will remain in place, that there will be no relaxation of the present regulations. They went further to state that if the infection rates do not fall at the necessary pace we may face stricter regulations including a curfew. The concept of a curfew will be discussed with the RIVM Outbreak Management Team next week.
These specific regulations are estimated to remain in place until 9 February, On 2 February, the Kabinet will assess which measures are necessary after 9 February.
To keep up to date on the infection rates and risk levels in the Netherlands in English head to coronadashboard.government.nl
"The number of residents in the Netherlands infected with the coronavirus is decreasing slightly. This means that the lockdown is having some effect. Our next task is to reduce the daily infections much further and much faster, so that the number of patients with COVID-19 in hospitals and intensive care units also decreases. For this reason, the Kabinet has decided that the Netherlands will remain in lockdown at least until 9 February. This means that we have to limit our contact moments as much as possible so that the virus cannot spread as quickly. In this way, we will keep the healthcare system accessible to everyone. This is especially important in view of the development of new variants of the coronavirus (B117), on which the OMT is now conducting additional research. The government is also asking the OMT to investigate the usefulness and necessity of possible stricter measures, such as a curfew.
Press conference by Premier Rutte and Minister Hugo De Jong live from Den Haag
The first residents in the Netherlands have now been vaccinated against the coronavirus. This means that we are at the beginning of a new phase in this crisis. However, unfortunately this does not mean that we can let go of the measures. Most people are still susceptible to the virus, and many people in the Netherlands are still contagious. That is why measures are still needed to prevent the coronavirus from spreading. Only when the majority of the Netherlands has been vaccinated can we abandon the basic rules.
The goal of the extended lockdown is to have as few contact moments as possible. The fewer contact moments, the fewer infections. Staying at home is the best way to limit contact moments. The government therefore advises everyone to stay at home as much as possible. Those who invite people to their homes are advised not to invite more than two people a day.
The call to stay at home also means that, in principle, everyone works at home. Many infections occur on the shop floor or on the way to or from work. This makes working from home an effective way of preventing the coronavirus from spreading. Only people who are essential to the progress of a business process and cannot carry out their work at home are allowed to come to work. Employers must ensure that employees who can work from home actually do so.
When you go out, there should be no more than two people together. Groups of three or more people are not allowed, unless they are members of the same household. Not even if people keep 1.5 metres distance between them. Adults exercise alone or in pairs at a distance of at least 1.5 metres, and only outside. Cycling or walking with a group of three or more people is therefore not allowed. Children up to and including 17 are still allowed to play sports in teams and may play matches among themselves, but only outside.
Extending the lockdown has major repercussions on society and the economy. The current situation is tough on entrepreneurs and workers. The aim is to reach the finishing line together. That is why the government is doing its utmost to pull entrepreneurs and workers through this challenging time. Ministers Wiebes, Koolmees and Hoekstra are working on additions to the support and recovery package and will make further announcements about this next week.
Many people have had a tough time because of the coronavirus and the measures required to slow the spread. For many people, this extension of the lockdown means that they will have to deal with financial uncertainty, loneliness or other concerns for longer. That is why it is extra important that we pay attention to each other and look out for each other. Even if it has to be done remotely or digitally.
In order to slow down the spread of the virus, we need to establish as few contacts as possible. That is why museums and theatres, amusement parks, zoos, casinos, saunas, indoor sports facilities and hotel and catering establishments remain closed until at least 9 February. Retailers such as clothes shops, shoe shops, jewellery shops and hobby shops will also remain closed, as will hairdressers, nail stylists, tattooists and other contact professions.
Secondary schools and institutions of intermediate and higher education will continue to provide distance education for at least four weeks, until 7 February. Primary education is also still providing distance education. The childcare facilities are closed. The exceptions to distance education for vulnerable children, pupils in an examination year, practice-based education and the taking of exams and tests remain in place.
Children of parents with a 'vital profession' can continue to stay in the emergency accommodation of the primary school or child care centre for the next few weeks. The call is to only make use of this if there is no other option. An OMT advice on the effects of the British variant of the coronavirus on children will follow. Based on this, the Kabinet will decide as soon as possible whether primary education and childcare will be able to open as early as 25 January. As a precaution and where possible, pupils in secondary education who receive physical education must keep one and a half metres away.
Every journey increases the chance of more infections. Therefore, the urgent advice is: stay in the Netherlands. Don't travel and don't book any trips until March 2021. Only travel abroad for serious family circumstances, for example. Or for work that really cannot be postponed and where physical presence is absolutely necessary. Travellers returning to the Netherlands after a necessary trip should be in possession of a negative coronavirus test. Moreover, they must always spend 10 days in quarantine upon their return.
Overview of measures
Until at least 9 February 2021, the situation will remain as it is now:
• Stay at home. Only go out to do some shopping, get some fresh air, let the dog out, work if you can't do that at home or to provide essential informal care.
• Only receive guests at home if it is necessary. If you do invite people into your home, you are strongly advised not to have more than two people aged 13 or over.
• Work at home. Only people who are essential to the progress of a business process and who cannot carry out their work at home should come to work.
• Only go out with your household or with a group of no more than two people.
• Some locations are closed:
– Shops (except for essential items such as food)
– Locations of contact professions such as hairdressers, nail salons, sex establishments
– Theatres, concert halls, cinemas, casinos, etc.
– Animal parks, amusement parks, etc.
– Indoor sports facilities such as gyms, swimming pools, saunas, wellness, etc.
– Restaurants and cafes
– Hotels are open, but restaurants and room service in a hotel are closed.
• Adults exercise alone or in pairs, and only outside. Children up to 17 years old may play sports in teams and may play matches among themselves, but also only outside.
• Only use public transport for strictly necessary journeys.
• Stay in the Netherlands. Do not travel abroad and do not book international trips until mid-March.
• Only (para)medical contact professions are allowed
• Educational institutions mainly offer distance education until at least 8 February. In secondary education, practical education, lessons for exam pupils and the administration of school examinations in the (pre-)examination year can take place on location. In MBO, HBO and WO examinations and exams can be held and practical education is possible. In all forms of education, an exception may be made for the guidance of vulnerable pupils and students. Childcare and after-school care are closed during this period.
An OMT advice on the effects of the British variant (B117) of the coronavirus on children will follow. Based on this, the Kabinet will decide if and when primary education and childcare can be opened.
For children of parents who have a 'vital profession', there is emergency accommodation at the primary school or the childcare centre and after-school care. The call is only to make use of the emergency shelter if no other solution is possible."