Rutte cautions Dutch to enjoy ice skating with Covid restrictions in mind
Some habits never change, even during a pandemic. Ice skating remains the "ultimate old Holland winter feeling", as Prime Minister Mark Rutte described in a press conference on Friday. The frozen waters caused by the recent dip in temperatures gave many in the Netherlands the chance to showcase their skating talents on natural ice this year.
Nevertheless, Rutte reminds the public that the coronavirus knows no exceptions. “Unfortunately all those horrible coronavirus measures apply on that ice. It's not that the cold makes that virus less contagious, certainly not," Rutte said. He reminded people that the number of infections needs to go down and that hospitals need the space to treat both coronavirus patients and fulfill other medical care.
"So enjoy it sensibly, keep your distance and stay at home when it gets too busy. Stick to all measures and, above all, prevent hospitals from getting even busier due to all kinds of bone fractures."
Rutte cautions the public to make sure the ice they are standing on is thick enough to hold them. In multiple areas in the country, skaters fell through the ice and needed to be rescued from the freezing waters recently. "Skating on natural ice makes the heart of many Dutch people beat faster. Unfortunately, just when I was preparing the press conference, people had to be taken off the ice on the Hofvijver again," he said of the pond outside of Parliament.
The outgoing prime minister himself did not seem too enthusiastic about joining in the skating fun this weekend. Yet, when a journalist implied that, perhaps, Rutte did not know how to skate, he was quick to defend himself, "I do know how to skate! I’d just rather do it without cameras.” He conceded that he does not skate well, and he declined to say if he prefers clap skates, ice hockey skates or figure skates.
He did say he was not able to perform a pirouette on ice. "No, no, no. Unfortunately."
The prime minister also said that celebrating Carnival and Chinese New Year is allowed as long as celebrations take place in compliance with social restrictions.