Shopkeepers can't refuse to enforce mandatory face masks: Security Council
Shopkeepers are responsible for enforcing the face mask obligation that takes effect in the Netherlands today, Hubert Bruls said after a meeting of the Security Council on Monday. The face masks rule is set down in law and shopkeepers also have to adhere to the law, said Bruls, mayor of Nijmigen and chairman of the Security Council, NU.nl reports.
From today, everyone in the Netherlands aged 13 or older must wear a face mask in public indoor spaces like stores, libraries, stations, and secondary schools. There are some exceptions for people who are medically unable to wear a mask, and for certain activities. Violators will be fined 95 euros.
Earlier on Monday, various retail chains said they were not going to require face masks. Albert Heijn and Kruidvat said they won't refuse customers without a mask. Bruls was "disappointed" by this attitude, he said. "You cannot say that if a customer enters your store or theater and does not want to wear a mask that, you are not going to act. You are responsible and have to obey the law," he said.
According to Bruls, the police can only be called in if a customer continues to refuse to wear a face mask and does not want to leave the store. If it later turns out the retailer did not do enough to enforce the face mask rule, the mayor can impose a fine of several thousand euros or, in extreme cases, close the store. The law prescribes a duty of care and "you have to obey the law," Bruls stressed.
The mayors on the Security Council, who head the 25 security regions in the Netherlands, also discussed the crowded shopping streets and centers over the past weekend. Measures had to be taken in various cities. But the mayors decided that national rules were going too far. Crowds can best be tackled with "local customization", Bruls said. "It doesn't add much value to make every village and every city suffer when there were no problems."