Cabinet agrees to slide curfew to 10 p.m. from Mar. 31: Reports
The caretaker Cabinet in the Netherlands has agreed to modify the mandatory nightly curfew by moving up the start time from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. as of Wednesday, March 31. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte will announce the change during his press conference Tuesday night with Health Minister Hugo de Jonge, broadcaster NOS reported.
The curfew will still end at 4:30 a.m., the Cabinet decided during a briefing on the coronavirus situation in the country and public policy regarding the Dutch pandemic response. By sliding the curfew forward an hour, it will give people more opportunity to take advantage enjoy the increasing daylight, particularly as the clocks in the Netherlands also move up an hour on Sunday morning.
It is a concession from Rutte and the Cabinet. During a debate in Parliament to win political support for the curfew, Rutte said the curfew had to start during a window from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. He said at the time that starting the curfew any later would dramatically reduce the effectiveness of the measure.
The issue was brought to the forefront by mayors who attended the meeting of the Security Council on Monday night. "People will want to go outside and that will place greater pressure on enforcement," said Hubert Bruls to ANP after the meeting. He is the Chair of the Security Council and also the Mayor of Nijmegen.
Other mayors also raised the issue that Ramadan will begin in a few weeks. Those who observe the religious practice are to fast every day from sunrise to sunset. The sun will go down in the Netherlands after 9 p.m. from April 28. Refusing to adapt the curfew would make the situation “very complicated” for Muslims, said Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb to NOS.
Even with the changing curfew hours, the country will not use the extra 60 minutes to vaccinate more people. “We cannot vaccinate more people with an extra hour for injections. There are not enough vaccines available for that,” a spokesperson for municipal health service GGD GHOR told the ANP newswire.
The association of family doctors, LHV, also agreed. General practitioners typically vaccinate people on weekdays after 5 p.m. when their offices close, and during the daytime on Saturdays. “So far we have no problem completing all injection appointments at those times. We don't need an extra hour.”