New coronavirus rules take effect in Randstad
New measures against the spread of the coronavirus are now in effect in six regions in the Randstad. Among other things, catering establishments must stop taking in new customers at midnight and close by 1:00 a.m.
On Friday, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Minister Hugo de Jonge of Public Health, Welfare and Sports announced a three stage warning system for the 25 security regions in the Netherlands. 19 regions are currently still at Stage 1, or "vigilance". Six regions in the Randstad are Stage 2, or "worrisome". So far no security region is at Stage 3, or "serious".
New measures were implemented for the six regions in Stage 2, to try and prevent Covid-19 infections in these regions increasing further. In addition to the mandatory closing times for catering establishments, limits were also tightened for groups. Gatherings may consist of no more than 50 people, instead of the 100 people limit that applies to regions in Stage 1. This limit does not apply to demonstrations, religious gatherings, and funerals.
In addition to these national rules, the municipalities in the six regions at Stage 2 can also take their own measures. The Security Regions have mainly opted for the same measures - intensifying cooperation with groups in which coronavirus infections are increasing, stricter enforcement of existing rules, and creating "windows of time" for vulnerable groups to make use of public facilities like swimming pools and libraries.
Hubert Bruls, mayor of Nijmegen and head of the council for the 25 security regions, hopes that the restrictions in the catering industry will make restaurants and bars less crowded and send the message that "we have to get together less to stop the virus," he said to NOS.
"Of course it is not so that these measures will suddenly stop the virus, but we do know that there are many infections in student cities. And deeper in the night, under the influence of alcohol, the chance of infection is greater," Bruls said. "The strength of this measure is that you draw a line in a large area where there are many infections."
The six security regions on Stage 2 include Amsterdam-Amstelland, Rotterdam-Rijnmond, Haaglanden which covers The Hague, Utrecht, Leiden and the rest of Hollands Midden, as well as Kennemerland which includes Haarlem.