No big events this summer: security council

Liberation Day Festival in Amsterdam (Picture: Twitter/@U2Juul)Liberation Day Festival in Amsterdam (Picture: Twitter/@U2Juul)

Those looking forward to a big party this summer, should lower their expectations, according to Hubert Bruls, mayor of Nijmegen and chairman of the council for the country’s 25 security regions. While more is possible under the coronavirus rules from July 1, large events and festivals remain difficult to organize, he said. 

“The flow must be guaranteed and more than 250 visitors must get a seat. Then a dance festival is quickly over,” Bruls said after meeting with the other mayors that head the security regions and Justice Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus on Monday, RTL Nieuws reports.

According to Bruls, a fair or carnival should be fine. These can still apply for permits. But a big festival is not realistic. “Many organizers have already sent their staff on holiday because they no longer expected to be able to do anything this summer,” he said. Moreover, there are not many places in the Netherlands that can safely accommodate large groups of people adhering to social distancing. “The question is whether it is lucrative to organize something now at all.”

According to Bruls, the people of the Netherlands have been following the rules beautifully and therefore it is now possible to do a bit more. But it is not over yet, he said. “Corona is having a summer nap, but is really not gone. It will be a different summer than before. Many people stay at home or go on holiday in the Netherlands. Going to the disco, however, is not yet on the cards in the coming months.”

Minister Grapperhaus is pleased that the Dutch can have more “living space” again, but everyone must continue to be careful “until there is a vaccine”, he said after the Security Council meeting, De Telegraaf reports. “We must all really avoid having to tighten the rules again.”

Zuid-Holland and the mayors in the region are considering banning alcohol at events, Wouter Kolff, chair of the Zuid-Holland security region and mayor of Dordrecht, said to AD. “You can imagine that it becomes more difficult at events to keep a meter and a half apart as people drink more alcohol and the late hours arrive.” Kolff therefore thinks that a ban on alcohol can prevent events from becoming a coronavirus epicenter. Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb also likes the idea, he said.