More people want the lockdown relaxed; Cabinet reviewing terrace policy weekly
Two out of three Dutch people want the current measures against coronavirus to be relaxed. The number of people who are in favor of relaxing the measures rose from 59 to 64% since the beginning of March, NOS reported based on results of a survey conducted by the research bureau I&O Research. The cabinet said it will continue to evaluate the situation weekly in order to see whether the conditions for reopening of terraces have been met.
Some 80% of the surveyed participants answered they want to be able to have visitors at home again. Opening universities and colleges also saw significant support among the surveyed population at 72 percent, while two out of three people were in favor of opening terraces and shops. Over 60% want the nightly curfew abolished.
The research was conducted between April 9 and 12 and involved more than 2,000 adult Dutch residents. According to the research bureau, gender, age and voting behavior have been taken into account making the poll representative.
On Tuesday evening, Prime Minister Mark Rutte will hold a press conference to announce any updates regarding measures against the coronavirus pandemic. The potential reopening of terraces that was expected to take place on April 21 has been moved at least one week later as hospitals are still under significant pressure with Covid-19 patients.
“We have to be careful as the pressure on hospitals is still enormous. We are very close to getting past the peak. If that peak gets out of control, bad things could happen”, Minister of Security Ferd Grapperhaus said.
“We understand the disappointment. Last week we saw the light at the end of the tunnel and a few days later the light was gone again”, Grapperrhaus added.
Mayors of several major cities in the Netherlands have also supported the earlier plan to proceed with opening the terraces. They were concerned it would become harder for the police to maintain public order once large gatherings start taking place again with warm months ahead.
“Providing perspective is the most important. The best thing would be if the relaxation started as soon as possible”, the mayor of Nijmegen Hubert Bruls said.