Rutte positive about Spanish coronavirus recovery plan; Sorry for closure of restaurants
As the Netherlands weighs up its options for the reopening of its economy, the Dutch government is looking with interest to Spain, where Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced a roadmap for its own reopening earlier this week. Prime Minister Mark Rutte discussed it at a press conference on Friday, in which the government spelled out the way forward for the Dutch economy as the threat of Covid-19 appeared to ease.
"I can also imagine something like [Spain's approach] for the Netherlands," Rutte announced. "It is not going to be a route from which people can derive rights."
Sánchez revealed his plan for reopening the Spanish economy on Tuesday. It consists of four distinct phases that would occur at different rates across the country's various regions. In the first phase, many small businesses and shops would reopen with some opening hours exclusive to people over 75 years of age. Hotels and other vacation rentals would reopen, but shared spaces would stay closed.
The second phase would allow restaurant waiters and waitresses to serve guests at their tables. Some small indoor events would begin again as well as outdoor events with fewer than 400 people. Restrictions in the third stage would be reduced further until the country could be fully reopened.
Each phase is expected to last for at least two weeks, in order to account for the latency period between infection and the emergence of symptoms.
Sorrow at continued closure of restaurants
Rutte also affirmed that bars, restaurants and hairdressers in the Netherlands are to remain closed in the immediate future, voicing sincere commiseration toward members of the industry whose livelihoods have been upended by Covid-19.
"My heart bleeds for everyone who has a love for entrepreneurs. I sympathize. It is not my fault, but that of the speed with which the virus spreads," said the Prime Minster.
Rutte also responded to the claim that the Netherlands' Covid-19 measures had been too extreme, retorting that the country has "pretty much the most liberal lockdown in Europe outside of Sweden."
"The Netherlands has kept many sectors open and there has never been a policeman at your door. We have said to the people: these are the facts and we think it is wise that you stay at home and work from home as much as possible. That is the Netherlands," said Rutte.