Crowded Hague restaurant busted with 200 guests; Covid rules allow only 50
An all-you-can eat restaurant in The Hague was evacuated by authorities Saturday night because of overcrowding in defiance of special rules set up to halt the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Restaurant Samen. “We had about 200 guests inside when the city enforcement officers and the police suddenly burst in,” a restaurant worker told Omroep West.
“I am a lung patient. I have COPD. Then you think you can eat safely, but that was not the case,” one woman who was a customer at Samen said in an interview. “I did not find it safe. There were far too many people.”
Bars, restaurants and cafes in the Haaglanden Security Region, which includes The Hague, have not been allowed to host more than 50 people at a time for about a week. The region was one of six placed at Level 2 of a three-stage government monitoring system for increased risk of coronavirus infections. The Hague, Amsterdam and Rotterdam have consistently been the three cities with the most new infected residents as reported daily by the municipal health services.
A spokesperson for The Hague told one reporter at the scene that the restaurant has already been warned twice before. However the employee speaking with Omroep West said otherwise.
“We had a meeting with the municipality once earlier, and then we made an agreement. We stuck to that.” The worker would not elaborate on the details of the pact.
It was not clear how long the restaurant would be shut down. Last week, Mayor Jan van Zanen said that businesses which violate coronavirus rules will get a warning for a first offense, will close for two weeks on a second offense, with third and fourth violations bringing 1- and 3-month closures, respectively.
The multistory restaurant attached to the Hotel RIVA along the A13 opened in mid-2018 with seating for 700, according to VoC Grootkeukens, which helped with construction of the restaurant.
“We had to eat and then we had to leave. And then we understood that there was the police and that it all had to stop immediately,” another woman told a video journalist at the scene. “We had to get out because it was too busy. We were not allowed to eat anything, we were not allowed to take anything. Nothing at all.”