Amsterdam to restrict access to parks, canals over warm weekend

Social distancing in Amsterdam's Oosterpark
Two walkers Amsterdam's Oosterpark keep a safe distance from each other during the coronavirus pandemic. April 3, 2020Jacqueline TellingaSupplied to NL Times

Amsterdam is restricting access to its parks and canals over the weekend. Enforcement officers have also been instructed not to be lenient with people caught breaking the social distancing rules in place to curb the spread of coronavirus Covid-19, Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema said to Het Parool.

Sunny and warm weather is expected in the Netherlands this weekend, especially on Sunday. To prevent situations like two weekends ago, when the government had to send an NL Alert to remind people to stay home after crowds flocked to beaches and parks, the Dutch capital decided to take proactive measures.

The side entrances to all Amsterdam parks will be closed over the weekend, and people will be allowed in only a few at a time. A sailing ban will apply on the canals, and locks in the area will remain closed for pleasure boating. 

"Everyone is holding their breath for the weekend, but we will act," Halsema said. "Those who do not follow the instructions to keep at least a meter and a half apart must be fined." The fine for breaking the social distancing rules is 390 euros.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Thursday also called on Netherlands residents to stick to the rules, also during weekends and nice weather. He repeated this message again and again during his regular Friday press conference.