Schools, hairdressers reopen as NL eases out of coronavirus lockdown
Monday is step one of the Dutch government's step-by-step plan to ease the Netherlands out of the intelligent lockdown it is in due to the coronavirus. Today primary schools, contact professions like hairdressers and therapists, certain sports clubs, and driving schools can reopen.
All schools in the Netherlands closed eight weeks ago. On Monday primary schools can partially reopen. A maximum of half of the pupils may attend school per day. The children do not have to keep 1.5 meters apart, but does have to social distance from teachers as much as possible. On days when children go to school, they can also go to after-school dare. Day care for children up to 0 to 4 years, and childminders for children up to 12 years are open again. And special primary education is also running at 100 percent again.
Not all children will go back to primary school on Monday. A small group of parents will be keeping their kids at home, either because they have health problems, or they don't trust the RIVM that their kids will be safe, school leaders said to NOS. Some teachers are also not going back to work, or have concerns about doing so.
Figures from the RIVM show that out of the 11,307 people who required hospital care for Covid-19, only two were between 5 and 9 years of age, and seven more were aged 10 to 14. Another 43 children up to 4 years of age required hospital care. Combined, those children make up less than one-half of one percent of all Covid-19 hospital cases in the Netherlands.
Most contact professions like hair salons, beauty salons, nail salons, and medical contact professions like dietitians, masseuses, osteopaths, dental prostheticians, acupuncturists, and opticians can open their doors again on Monday. Certain conditions will continue to apply, such as that appointments must be made in advance, and customers will be asked about having coronavirus symptoms. Social distancing must also be maintained as much a possible, but wearing a mask is not required.
Hairdressers are delighted to be able to get back to work. The first hair salon opened one minute after midnight in Boxmeer, Noord Brabant. Hair salon Gijsbers had customers bid on the first haircut. "I got the idea because there is always bidding on the first herring keg. I thought: why don't we let people bid on the very first haircut," owner Linda Nillesen said to Omroep Brabant. Who got the first post-lockdown haircut in the Netherlands, and how much they paid for it, is not known.
People in the Netherlands can also play more sports from Monday. No-contact sports like golf, tennis and swimming in inside pools are allowed again - as long as people change into their sports wear at home. Showers and canteens at sports facilities remain closed. Dutch are also allowed to play outside sports again, as long as they keep 1.5 meters apart. This social distancing measure does not apply to kids up to age 12. Sports matches are still banned.
Other measures being relaxed on Monday include that 25 nursing homes are opening for visitors again, with one visitor per resident allowed. That visitor must always be the same person. Libraries are opening again on Monday. And partners will again be allowed to accompany their pregnant partner to doctors visits and echos.