Rijksoverheid: further relaxation of lockdown not yet justified
Outgoing Premier Mark Rutte and Minister Hugo de Jonge from Ministerie van Volksgezondheid, Welzijn en Sport gave a press conference in Den Haag this evening to announce the extension of the current regulations until Tuesday 30 March including the avondklok, closure of restaurants, bars and non-essential shops. Premier Rutte maintains the urgent travel advice for all residents to stay in the Netherlands and not travel abroad until Thursday 15 April.
A number of slight changes to existing regulations were also announced, two of their principal aims are to enable more residents in the Netherlands access to sport and to ensure those who need to be present at the upcoming verkiezingen are granted exceptions for avondklok regulations.
"There are still too many people infected with the coronavirus in the Netherlands. The pressure on hospitals is still too high. That's why the Kabinet is not going to relax any further regulations, that would not be responsible. We are sticking to the measures that we see are working.
However, small corrections will be made to a number of existing measures. The Kabinet is also looking ahead to the future. From 31 March, there may be more room for easing. Only if the figures allow it, terraces and shops, for example, may open under strict conditions.
Extension of measures
All current measures will be extended until March 30.
On 23 March there will be another press conference in which it will be stated what is possible after 30 March.
The avondklok will be extended until 04:30 on 31 March.
This means that everyone has to stay inside between 21:00 and 04:30. During the elections on 15, 16 & 17 March, a few exceptions will apply.
The travel advice is extended until 15 April
This means: stay in the Netherlands. Do not travel abroad until 15 April. For travel outside the Netherlands: only travel if this is really necessary. On 23 March, at the next press conference, there will be a travel recommendation for the period thereafter.
Small adjustments of measures
The Kabinet will make a number of small adjustments to the existing measures. As of Tuesday, 16 March, the following adjustments will apply.
Swimming lessons are possible for children up to 12 years of age, so that they can obtain their A, B or C diploma.
Winkelen op afspraak
When "shopping by appointment", the rule for shops is that there may be two customers per floor. Or one customer per 25 square metres. All at a distance of 1.5 metres from each other. A maximum of 50 customers may be in the shop at any one time. The rule still applies that people have to make an appointment at least four hours in advance, and that the shop works with time slots of at least ten minutes.
Adults of 27 years and older are now allowed to exercise outside on sports facilities with a maximum of four people. They must keep a distance of 1.5 metres. Up to 26 years old, sports at sports facilities were already allowed, in teams, without keeping a distance of 1.5 metres. The gemeente (Gemeente Maastricht) can offer more opportunities for organised sports outside the sports facilities.
Theory exams and lessons on driving or maintaining a vehicle may again be organised on location. This only applies to people who need this for exercising certain professions or for certain companies. People who have had an educational measure imposed on them to improve their driving behaviour can also take their theory examinations again.
The ban on flying and sailing in the United Kingdom is lifted. The B117 variant of the coronavirus has already spread to the Netherlands, so the flight and sailing ban no longer makes sense. It will cease to apply on 9 March at 00:01CEST. The current testing requirements for travellers from the UK will remain in place, as will the urgent quarantine advice.
Entry ban expanded
An entry ban applies to travellers from countries outside the EU. The list of exceptions was temporarily suspended for a number of groups. These exceptions are now applicable again. This means that the following groups may again enter the Netherlands: business travellers, students, highly skilled migrants, professionals from the cultural and creative sector and people in long-distance relationships.
Minor adjustments of measures earlier than 16 March:
Visiting regulations for nursing homes
If residents of nursing homes have been vaccinated, there is room for two visitors per day. These can also be different visitors during the week. This adjustment goes into effect immediately.
Possible relaxations as of Wednesday 31 March:
A number of relaxations are planned as of 31 March. These can only be implemented if the number of intensive care beds occupied remains stable and the reproduction rate remains around 1. A decision will be taken on 23 March.
Restaurant owners may then open outdoor terraces, subject to certain conditions. For example, registration, a check-in and placarding are required. And a maximum of fifty people can sit on a terrace.
There will be more room for shops to open further.
Two people, aged 13 and over, will be allowed to visit each day.
Under certain conditions, more will be possible for higher vocational education (HBO) and academic education (WO). Students will be allowed to have physical education for a maximum of one day a week.
The better we stick to the basic rules, the fewer infections there will be, and the sooner we can do more. This also increases the chance that the above relaxation can take place.
Wash your hands regularly and carefully. Cough and sneeze into your elbow. Keep 1.5 metres distance from others, so that the virus gets as little chance as possible.
Limit your contacts
Make sure you meet up with as few people as possible: avoid crowds, work at home if you can and limit your visits.
Staying at home and getting tested
If you have symptoms, stay at home, even if they are mild. Get tested as soon as possible. Then wait for the test result at home. If you test positive, stay at home.
Vaccination also has an effect on the number of infections. More and more elderly people are being vaccinated. This leads to a decrease in the number of coronas infections in nursing homes. At the moment, the expectation is that in July everyone aged 18 and over who wants to be vaccinated will have had their first inoculation.
Want to know more about numbers? For example, how many positive tests there are per 100,000 inhabitants, or how many people end up in hospital because of corona? Then take a look at the Corona Dashboard.
Video: © Rijksoverheid 2021 – press conference in Dutch