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NL announces slight relaxation to lockdown regulations

Premier Mark Rutte and Minister Hugo de Jonge gave a press conference in Den Haag this evening where they announced four points on where there is going to be slight relaxation of the regulations currently in force to slow the spread of the corona virus.

Rijksoverheid: "The corona regulations demand a lot from everyone's stamina, both physical and mental. The longer the crisis lasts, the tougher it becomes for everyone. The social, societal and economic effects of the pandemic add up after a year. The government continues to pay attention to protecting people with vulnerable health and keeping healthcare accessible. The B117 variant is causing the number of infections per day to decrease less than a few weeks ago, or even to increase. At the same time, the stage has now come to take a little more risk, in a limited and considered way. The lockdown and the avondklok will remain in place at least until 15 March, but secondary schools and MBO (vocational) schools will partially reopen as of 1 March.

In addition, from 3 March onwards, the Kabinet will allow the following extensions, under certain conditions: young people up to and including 26 years old are again allowed to play sports together outside, contact professions can reopen and the retail trade is allowed to open for shopping by appointment.

Education From 1 March onwards, secondary schools and MBO (vocational) schools will partially reopen their doors. In practice, this means that all secondary school pupils go to school at least one day a week. For MBO students this is one day a week. As with primary education, it is the government's intention that secondary education and senior secondary vocational education (mbo) will not shut again.

It is essential that schools and parents make every effort to limit the number of contact moments as much as possible. Those who work in education could already be tested as a priority and this remains the case.

After school care (BSO) will remain closed, because this leads to extra contact between pupils from different schools.

Contact professions People with contact professions, such as hairdressers and masseurs, may exercise their profession again as from 3 March. Reservation and registration is required, and there must be a check for complaints. It is important to wear a face mask and to keep a distance of 1.5 metres where possible.

The widening also applies to driving instructors. This means that, as of 3 March, people can again take driving lessons and everyone can take the practical exam. Students can also take their theory test again; for students who need to take practical exams it is still being worked out how this can also be made possible in a safe manner as soon as possible. Of course, the hygiene measures and staying at home in case of complaints also apply.

Sex workers are not yet allowed to practice their profession.

Outdoor sports From 3 March, people up to and inlcuding 26 years of age can play sports outside on sports facilities with more than two people. Not in competition, but with their own team. Previously, this was only possible for young people up to 17 years old. During sports, it is not necessary to keep a distance of 1.5 metres.

Shopping by appointment From 3 March, shops are allowed to receive customers by appointment. A maximum of two customers per floor may be in the shop at the same time. Customers must be registered four hours in advance. A visit lasts at least ten minutes. This is to prevent contact between customers who are in rapid succession. Of course, the basic rules such as the requirement to wear a face mask, keeping a distance of 1.5 metres, hygiene measures and staying at home in case of complaints still apply. For smaller shops in particular, this may offer some relief.

Avondklok The avondklok will be extended until 4.30 am on 15 March. It remains forbidden to go out between 21:00 in the evening and 04:30 in the morning. The conditions remain the same. Students and teachers taking practical classes and adult education in the examination year will be exempt from the avondklok from 3 March.

Flight ban To reduce the risk of spreading mutations of the virus, passenger flights from the United Kingdom, South Africa, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela were banned on 23 January. In any case, these bans will be extended until Thursday, 4 March. The Kabinet has asked the OMT for its advice on an extension (partial or otherwise) of these bans. The previously established exceptions to this ban for some groups of travellers, including medical personnel, also remain in force.

Lockdown The aim of the lockdown is to have as few contacts as possible. The fewer contacts, the fewer infections. Therefore, stay and work at home as much as possible and only go out for shopping, (medical) care for yourself, others or animals, a breath of fresh air and education or work if you really can't do it at home. If you do receive visitors, do not receive more than one guest per day who is 13 years of age or older. Do not visit others more than once a day.

On Monday 8 March the cabinet will decide which measures to take.

The risks that we take with the extensions require extra attention for compliance with the basic rules. This applies to the hygiene rules such as washing your hands, sneezing into your elbow and wearing a face mask where necessary. Also for the rules about keeping 1.5 metres distance and avoiding crowds. Testing and staying at home in case of mild symptoms and, after a positive test, going into quarantine together with housemates are also important, especially now. In this way, we can get the corona virus under control and step by step get more movement in our lives."

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