Hard lockdown "disastrous" for retailers; Schools understand the need
Reports that the government will be putting the Netherlands in a hard lockdown, with almost everything closed except food stores, banks and pharmacies, led to reactions ranging from shock and outrage to understanding in the various sectors.
The hard lockdown will be "disastrous" for shops, InRetail, the branch organization for non-food stores, said to NOS. This is the most important sales month of the year and stores are stocked with Christmas supplies, spokesperson Paul te Grotenhuis said. If they can't sell these supplies, disaster looms, he said.
Secondary schools understand the need for a lockdown and for schools to close, Paul Rosenmoller of secondary schools' organization VO-Raad said to NPO Radio 1. "I think there is predominantly understanding in the schools." As the Christmas holidays are starting next week, schools won't have to close much longer than planned. They will provide distance learning for the first weeks of January. "The schools will use the few days before the holidays to prepare for home schooling. We will be fully working on that from 4 January onward."
The closure of daycare centers came as a complete surprise to Boink, the interest groups for parents in childcare, chairman Gjalt Jellesma said to NPO Radio 1. "I am somewhat surprised that they are included," he said, stressing that emergency care centers will remain open for children whose parents have vital professions.
Closing the daycare centers will cause a lot of extra pressure on parents, even if it is for a good cause, Marjet Winsemius of the Foundation for Working Parents said. "You have to do everything at the same time again: maintain the atmosphere, combine work and care, be a prison guard for adolescents," Winsemius said to NOS. "Parents are stressing. And many students are already falling behind at school, that will get worse now."
Radboudumc epidemiologist Alma Tostmann thinks its a good idea to close schools at this point. "Good that these measures are being taken, given the figures," she said to NOS. According to her, the second wave started with young people. And despite all the measures that already apply, more and more elderly people are getting infected. "Closing schools at this stage seems very sensible to me," she said. "It will take about ten days to two weeks before we see whether the measures are effective."
Hair salons expect the rest of Monday to be extremely busy. "People don't want to risk entering the festive season with a corona haircut, so many customers are still trying to make an appointment quickly," Gonny Eussen of the hairdressing industry association said to the broadcaster. "Hairdressers are working longer tonight to still get to everyone."
It is still unclear whether the closure of all non-essential stores will also mean no online shopping. PostNL is therefore preparing for "various scenarios", a spokesperson said to ANP. "We have been doing that since the start of the corona crisis," the spokesperson said. The postal service is looking into whether it can increase its capacity safely - "We cannot make any concessions to the corona measures." - as it is already reaching the limits of its delivery capacity.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte will address the nation at 7:00 p.m. this evening, after which Minister Hugo de Jonge of Public Health will explain the new measures.