Police hand out 719 social distance fines over “quiet” King’s Day weekend
Police in the Netherlands issued 719 fines for social distancing violations over the long King's Day weekend, authorities said at the end of Monday afternoon. More fines were handed out on Saturday, 345, than on Sunday, when 309 people were ticketed.
Officers followed that up by giving out just 65 tickets on Monday, as of 4 p.m. Police said the normally bustling holiday was "very quiet" this year.
Still, parties in homes and gardens were broken up all weekend. "In most cases, people responded directly to police instructions when they were addressed," authorities said. "Young people also do not always comply with the guidelines."
A large crowd was dispersed by police in Groningen on Monday for contravening social distancing rules after dozens gathered at a youth hostel on the Zuiderweg to celebrate the King's 53rd birthday. The event's organizers were ordered to cease all festivities within the space of half an hour, nobody was fined. A video of the event sent to Dagblad van het Noorden shows young people drinking beer and partying to loud music.
"Such parties are irresponsible and unacceptable in these times. Also on King's Day," the police said on the incident. It took place hours after police in Rotterdam broke up another party at a student apartment building on Rouchssenstraat in which fourteen students were fined for ignoring the rules.
Police on Monday also had to intervene in other places, such as in Oud-Beijerland in Zuid-Holland, where fines where issued to a further 48 people for gathering in spite of the rules.
Other exceedingly busy areas included the Bollenstreek, a popular region full of tulip fields, and the Amsterdam canals in the city center, where a recreational boating ban was put in place. Also parts of Limburg were very crowded, police said. Cyclists also caused several traffic jams on bike paths, where it became difficult for bikers to keep 1.5 meters of distance from each other.
Under current Covid-19 social distancing measures, people found to be gathering in groups of three people of larger, or standing within one and a half meters of one another, are eligible for a fine of 95 euros or 390 euros for minors and for adults respectively.