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Viruswaarheid vs Rijksoverheid: is NL to keep the avondklok?

Action group Viruswaarheid (Virus Truth), who have been campaigning against the avondklok were awarded a victory this morning when the rechtbank (district court) in Den Haag decided that the avondklok is a far-reaching infringement of the right to freedom of movement and privacy. The presiding judge believed that decisions were made too quickly and the correct legal processes were not followed in the implementation of the temporary regulations.

The Rijksoverheid immediately made an emergency appeal to Gerechtshof (Court of Appeal) Den Haag asking that the avondklok remain in force while the cases could be argued in more detail. Viruswaarheid were asked to prepare their case for a hearing scheduled for Friday 19 February, to which they responded that they believed it was too short notice. Viruswaarheid said that because of this and a few other points of concern, they claimed the court was biased against them. This claim then needed to be presented to the gerechtshof, which took three hours to eventually be dismissed.

In response to Viruswaarheid's campaign and resulting lawsuit RIVM's Outbreak Management Team expressed their concerns that the retraction of the avondklok will bring the feared third wave of infections to the Netherlands, especially in light of the highly contagious B117 variant.

The supermarkets and food service companies affiliated to the Centraal Bureau Levensmiddelenhandel – CBL association stated that they will follow the urgent advice of Premier Rutte to maintain the avondklok. This means that supermarkets will continue to close at 20:45 at the latest.

"The supermarket sector is following the advice of the RIVM and the government's decision-making process, as it did throughout the coronas crisis."

For Zuid-Limburg (NL) this means Albert Heijn, JUMBO, Plus, Aldi, Lidl, SPAR, Sligro and Jan Linders.

Whether the avondklok remains in place or not, the police across Zuid-Limburg (NL) will be maintaining their presence on the streets. They will take into account that there will be people who will take to the streets after 21:00, even if the court determines that the curfew will remain in force for the time being.

"We will therefore remain alert. If the avondklok remains, we will of course continue to enforce it."

If the courts do indeed decide to revoke the avondklok, the police will still be present on the streets.

"Hanging out with a group or having a party is still not allowed. So in that case we will continue to enforce for group formation and keeping too little distance."

At approximately 20:35, just minutes before the avondklok was to begin, the gerechtshof decided with the government to uphold the temporary regulation and hear more detailed arguments at a later date.

The appeal is set to be heard on Friday 19 February in Den Haag.

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