Shops and restaurants will remain closed until March 2: Report
All shops, catering establishments, and entertainment venues such as cinemas and theatres will remain closed until March 2. However, the cabinet does intend to allow click-and-collect starting next week. Customers can thus order online or by phone and collect their purchase from the store. This rule would take effect on February 10. But a full reopening of stores is not going to happen until the beginning of March, say sources close to the cabinet.
The current corona restrictions will therefore be extended by three weeks from February 9. On February 23, the cabinet wants to decide about the period after March 2. If the infection rate allows it, it may be possible to loosen certain measures in the meantime, the sources emphasize.
After a cabinet meeting in The Hague, Health Minister De Jonge did not want to speak of “relaxation” at all. “Even though shops will probably be allowed to let customers pick up items from February 10 and primary schools will reopen, we should certainly not speak of relaxation,” he urged.
Threat of a third wave
“It is not going well at all,” says De Jonge. He points out that while the numbers seem to have fallen, there is “still the threat of a third wave.”
A final decision has also not yet been taken on the possibility of opening more stores for click-and-collect, especially with fears over the British variant of the virus complicating the case for further relaxation of the rules. The cabinet is expected to outline the full set of measures during their press conference on Tuesday.
Clothing and furniture stores
At the moment, there are already several shops that may remain open for collection purposes. These include DIY stores, food and beverage shops, and coffee shops. The same is true for libraries. If possible, this will be extended to clothing stores, bookstores, furniture stores, and garden centers next week.
On Saturday, news that daycare centers and primary schools would reopen again leaked. Additionally, the curfew would be lifted next week, should the number of infections continue to fall.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Hugo De Jong will hold a press conference detailing the new coronavirus measures.