the Corona lockdown in the Netherlands is being relaxed. Non-essential shops, universities, sports clubs and so-called contact service providers such as hairdressing salons are allowed to reopen for the first time in almost a month, as the government announced on Friday. However, the opening hours have been limited. Bars, restaurants, museums and theaters, on the other hand, should remain closed.
The government imposed the lockdown on December 18 to relieve the pressure on overwhelmed hospitals and give as many vaccination boosters as possible in view of the approaching wave of oma corns. While the new infections reached a record level last week with an average of 31,000, the Admissions of infected people to hospitals and intensive care units have been declining for weeks. Health Minister Ernst Kuipers warned of even higher numbers. There could be days with 80,000 new infections, he said, calling on people to wear masks and keep their distance.
The restaurant industry, meanwhile, was up in arms about being exempt from the easing. “The cabinet cannot leave gastronomy (& culture) alone,” tweeted the general director of the national industry association, Dirk Beljaarts. Prime Minister Mark Rutte admitted with a view to the industry: “I understand very well that this feels absolutely unfair.” After all, many had prepared in the long months of the closure to be able to open safely.