Majority of MP’s want face masks to be mandatory
A majority in parliament supports making face masks mandatory in public spaces. During a debate on the government's coronavirus policy on Wednesday, the VVD joined the call to move the stance on masks from "advice" to "obligation" with party leader Klaas Dijkhoff saying he doesn't want to wait for advice from the Outbreak Management Team on this matter, NOS reports.
Even before the debate,coalition party D66 and opposition parties SP, GroenLinks and PvdA called for face masks to be made mandatory in public spaces where social distancing is difficult to maintain. With ruling party VVD's support, a parliamentary majority is now in support of implementing a mask obligation.
According to these parties, the current policy creates too much confusion and puts too much of the responsibility on shopkeepers. "Shopkeepers aren't enforcement officers," SP leader Lilian Marijnissen said.
So far the government did not want to go further than advising citizens to wear masks while shopping in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. The three large cities have the highest number of coronavirus infections.
The mayors of the above mentioned three cities and Eindhoven decided to go further and urgently advised masks in all indoor public spaces. They too did not make this mandatory. Mayor Femke Halsema of Amsterdam said she would have liked to, but implementing a mask obligation on a regional level is legally too complicated and the obligation therefore has to come from the government.
The advice from the government and mayors left many shopkeepers confused as to whether they have to refuse entry to customers who don't wear a mask, or if it is up to the customer to decide whether or not to wear a mask. "One shopkeeper will enforce it strictly, the other will not. Customers then no longer understand," Jan Meerman of trade association INRetail said to AD. According to him, an obligation, making masks mandatory, would work a lot better. "Then you have clarity."