Coronavirus curfew begins in Netherlands; First curfew since WWII
The Netherlands introduced its first enforced curfew since World War Two on Saturday night. The restriction took effect at 9 p.m., and was to continue through 4:30 a.m. as a way to slow the spread of coronavirus in the country.
The curfew will continue every night through 4:30 a.m. on February 10. All members of the public must remain indoors during the curfew hours, except for certain work-related reasons and emergency situations where an exemption is permitted. Even then, the person on the street must carry with them an official government form that has been properly filled out.
Violators risk a fine of 95 euros, but will not receive a mark against them on their criminal record. Those caught with falsified document or who lied on their form to evade the restriction may be punished more severely, and could see their records affected in a way which can jeopardize their ability to get certain jobs or qualify for residence permits and visas.
It was proposed by the outgoing prime minister, Mark Rutte, and his health minister, Hugo de Jonge, earlier in the week. As the issue was considered too controversial for the caretaker Cabinet, it had to be approved by a majority in Parliament on Thursday.
“The idea behind the night-time curfew is that people will visit or meet up with each other less often,” the Cabinet said in a statement. “This is important because the government is gravely concerned about the spread of coronavirus variants that are even more infectious than the virus we are already familiar with in the Netherlands. We need to delay these new variants from gaining the upper hand for as long as possible.”
The last time the Netherlands had a curfew was in 1945, the year World War II ended in Europe.