Partial lockdown goes one step further
Prime minister Rutte and health minister De Jonge have said that 25 percent more people are expected to be hospitalised this autumn compared to the first wave last spring. ‘The current peak will be lower, but it will take longer.’ In order to avoid putting additional pressure on healthcare workers and in solidarity with those in need of regular healthcare, extra measures are necessary to slow down the spread of covid-19.
The Dutch government calls on everyone to stay at home as much as possible, meet fewer people and have fewer large gatherings. Hence, all publicly accessible buildings, such as libraries, museums, theaters, swimming pools, zoos and amusement parks will be closed for two weeks.
Hairdressing salons and shops will stay open, but Rutte encouraged people to avoid ‘shopping for fun.’ Recognising the importance of physical activity, the cabinet will allow gyms to remain open. However, group classes will be cancelled.
The number of people allowed to meet up in public places will be reduced from four people to two, from different households. As for house gatherings, the maximum number of visitors per day will be reduced from three to two. The government warns that illegal parties and other antisocial behaviour will be punished more strictly from now on. ‘The majority of people are following the rules, so a small group of people cannot spoil it for everyone else’, said Rutte.
In addition, the option of a regional night-time curfew will be kept open depending on the numbers of cases in the most affected provinces.
Look after each other
‘Christmas will be different this year’, said De Jonge. ‘But we are taking these measures now, so we can celebrate it with our loved ones in December.’ Since the world map is turned entirely orange or red now, the government also urges people not to travel abroad until mid-January.
Rutte stressed that life will get more complicated for ‘for everyone, also youngsters, who deal with loneliness and depressive feelings’ in the coming two weeks. That is why he encourages people to keep an eye on each other. ‘A little bit of attention and interest can mean a lot’, said the prime minister.