No mandatory face mask rule expected in Netherlands: Report

A man cycling through Amsterdam wearing a respirator-style medical mask
A man cycling through Amsterdam wearing a respirator-style medical mask. March 2020jaalbersDepositPhotosDeposit Photos

The Dutch government is unlikely to put forward a rule requiring people to wear face masks in public as a way of cutting down on the spread of novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Infections have risen consistently in the Netherlands this month, with last week's total number of 1,329 new infections the highest since the third week of May.

Several experts have spoken out publicly saying face masks should be required at indoor public spaces. However, after a meeting of the Outbreak Management Team on Tuesday, the government was not planning on making masks mandatory, sources told broadcasters NOS and RTL Nieuws.

Instead of a mandatory mask rule, the Cabinet believes that keeping a minimum of 1.5 meters away from other people is already a sufficient method of fighting the pandemic. Masks are obligatory on public transportation and in the airports because at those locations it can be difficult to keep a safe distance from others.

City mayors may get the power to make mask wearing obligatory at a local or hyper-local level, according to NOS. Regional leaders will also discuss the possibility of making people wear masks over multiple municipalities. This was expected to come up at a meeting on Wednesday in Utrecht between the 25 regional security boards and a representative of the Cabinet.