Criticism on new gov't measures in fight against Covid spread
The measures Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge announced to try and curb the spread of the coronavirus were met with criticism from employers, sport associations, doctors and opposition parties. The urgent advice to wear face masks in certain places is unclear, according to opposition parties.
The government announced new measures in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus on Monday evening. Among other things, catering establishments nationwide have to close by 10:00 p.m., no spectators are allowed at sporting events, social visits are limited, and face masks are "strongly advised" in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague.
The government's advice is that face masks be worn in stores in the coronavirus hotspots of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema went further and, on behalf of the security regions Amsterdam-Amstelland, Rotterdam-Rijnmond, Haaglanden, and Brabant-Zuidoost, urgently advised that face masks be worn in all publicly accessible indoor spaces. This is not an obligation, but urgent, urgent advice, she said, NU.nl reports. An obligation will have to come from the national government.
GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver called this advice unclear. "Clarify: a clear guideline for the use of face masks throughout the country," he said.
Employers associations VNO-NCW and MKB Nederland called the new measures painful, but understand why they are necessary. "These measures are a last chance to avert worse scenarios and to adjust our behavior," VNO-NCW chairman Ingrid Thijssen said. "At the same time, this package has profound implications for any of our members." The association wants to talk to the government and trade unions about support for the most affected sectors
"It is also essential that the cabinet makes every effort in the coming three weeks to scale up the testing capacity, so that we can keep the virus under control after this phase," Jacco Vonhof of MKB Nederland added.
Hospitality association KHN is furious by the new measures that will force all catering establishments to close by 10:00 p.m. and limit customers to a maximum of 30 inside and 40 outside. Hotels are also affected by the advice to limit travel as much as possible, KHN chairman Rober Willemsen said.
"Rutte spoke in the press conference about clusters in the catering industry. But I don't see that reflected in the RIVM figures," he said to NOS. According to Willemsen, it is increasingly difficult to convince KHN members to support measures. "There is no ray of hope at all. Not even an additional support package."
Sports umbrella association NOC*NSF called it good that sports can continue, but added that sports clubs are facing difficult times due to lost income form the public and canteens. Extra support is necessary. "A number of a sports club's income is now completely lost because of the ban on spectators, the lack of events, and the closing of canteens," general director Gerard Dielessen said. "This situation can not last long without adequate compensation."
Supporterscollectief Nederland, a partnership of football supporters associations, is disappointed with the ban on spectators. "We understand the need to reduce the number of infections. We do, however, have doubts about this measure and we miss perspective, especially since the crisis will last longer than the three weeks for which the current measures apply," a spokesperson said to NOS.
The government failed to learn from the first coronavirus wave and is now mainly implementing more of the same measures, general practitioner Andre Steketee, who demanded an 'open debate' on the corona policy along with over 2,600 other medical professionals in July, said on Met het Oog op Morgen.
"I just miss creative solutions with the approach: how can we do it differently," he said. "What can you learn from Germany for example, where they are looking at air purification. Or from Sweden, where the social and economic disruption is much less. There is just no discussion about the measures, we just go back to the old. The the infections will diminish again, we will all go outside again, an then we will probably be in lockdown again at Christmas."