Churches limited to 30 attendees, singing banned after weekend controversy
From now on, churches and other religious institutions in the Netherlands will be limited to 30 attendees. Singing is banned, and churches will be encouraged to hold online services as much as possible, Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security agreed with a number of church organizations on Monday.
Grapperhaus met with the organizations after a church in Staphorst sparked an outrage on Sunday by allowing up to 600 people to attend its services. The attendees did not have to wear masks and they sang in church.
"We are now going back to the agreements we made with the umbrella organizations in March," Grapperhaus said to NOS after the meeting. "Everyone is making sacrifices. Church organizations see that too."
Until now, religious gatherings were exempted from the maximum number of 30 attendees that apply to most other indoor public spaces. That has now been scrapped. The limit will apply for as long as the current coronavirus measures are in force.
The Justice Minister added that these rules are not enforceable. "As a government we cannot enter church buildings, that is a very old fundamental right. But I trust that everyone will participate."