Hot weather brings new concerns about overcrowding
The the low number of new coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths are resulting in Netherlands residents becoming more relaxed with the measurers in place to curb the spread of the virus, according to mayors Hubert Bruls of Nijmegen and Ahmed Marcouch of Arnhem. With the hot weather forecast for this week, they expect overcrowding to be an increasing problem, they said to De Gelderlander.
"There is a risk that we will forget that the virus is still here," Marcouch said. "If you walk on the street with this nice weather, it can start to work in your head so that you think: there is nothing going on, it is a beautiful day and I am going to chill with friends."
Both Bruls and Marcouch warn that it remains important to be vigilant with social distancing and other measures against the virus. The coronavirus is still around and there is no vaccine yet, they stressed.
Bruls noticed a drop in support or coronavirus measures, with "more and more people" saying that "enough is enough", he said to the newspaper. Most understand that staying 1.5 meters apart is necessary, but that can not always be guaranteed in public, he said. According to the mayor, also head of the council for the 25 security regions in the country, this is mainly because it's getting more crowded on the street, not so much because people don't want to adhere to measures.
He took note of the protest against coronavirus measures in The Hague on Sunday, and the incidents that resulted in some 400 arrests around the demonstration, but he is "not so impressed", Bruls said. "With all due respect: there were a few thousand people in The Hague, most were at home and behaved well. The few thousand people in The Hague also behaved nicely, except for a number of suspected hooligans. I don't know if you should consider that normative."
Bruls is more concerned by the fact that opinions about the coronavirus measures are being spread as facts. People who, for example, deny the importance of social distancing remind him of those who do the same with climate change, he said. "It is much wiser to look at the large majority of the population who are struggling, but also understand that the 1.5 meters is a logical response to the virus. We have to see more of those people."
He therefore called on the government to continue to emphasize the positive side of events, such as catering establishments that do manage to operate with social distancing measures in place.