Coronavirus measures massively ignored in bars, restaurants; fines issued

Enjoying a drink on a terrace in The Hague
Enjoying a drink on a terrace in The HaguekruwtDepositPhotosDeposit Photos

The Security Council, comprised of the 25 security regions in the Netherlands, is very concerned about compliance with social distancing and other coronavirus measures in the catering industry. Over the weekend, many bars and restaurants were too crowded or guests weren't keeping 1.5 meters apart. Multiple fines were issued, and at least one cafe - located in Maastricht - was shut down for two weeks. 

"Within the catering establishments, people are finding it increasingly difficult to keep a distance of 1.5 meters between themselves and to comply with the obligation to sit and not to stand or walk around," Hubert Bruls, mayor of Nijmegen and chair of the Security Council, said in a statement. "On Friday and Saturday evenings, especially in the entertainment areas of a number of cities, it was too crowded and the distance of 1.5 meters was definitely not achieved."

"With the holiday season coming up, we would like to give everyone the opportunity to sit on a terrace or go out for a bite to eat," Bruls said. "But that must be done in a safe manner and we are all responsible for that. Until we get rid of the coronavirus, it is essential that we stick to the corona measures: avoid crowds and keep 1.5 meters apart."

Hospitality entrepreneurs are also concerned about guests not adhering to the rules, hospitality association KHN said to newspaper AD. "We received various signals from the country that catering businesses are closing their doors because it is not profitable, or because they fear high fines if guests do not comply with the corona rules."

The KHN therefore wants to shift the focus from 'are restaurant owners enforcing the rules' to 'are people still willing to comply with the rules'. "If you look at how society is moving, then we really have to conclude that we really need to give entrepreneurs more space outside and relax further," the association said, according to AD. "Catering entrepreneurs have problems with double standards; the catering industry is the only sector that is held responsible for enforcing the rues among the public."