Crowds flock to cafes and stores on first day of reopening
People in city centers across the Netherlands on Wednesday showed up en masse to cafes and restaurants with outside terraces and many non-essential stores. The shops are no longer required to make customers register for an appointment, as the country loosened up lockdown restrictions preventing them from readily opening their doors.
A line of people waiting to enter the clothing store Primark on Coolsingel in the center of Rotterdam also stretched for a few hundred meters down the street. The first visitors arrived during the early morning hours already, prompting the store to open earlier than planned, according to Rijnmond.
Dozens of people stood in a very long, winding line in front of the Ikea location in Barendrecht on Wednesday morning.
Mensen zijn op deze zonnige woensdag al vroeg de deur uitgegaan om een bezoekje te brengen aan de net geopende Primark in de stad! 🛍 pic.twitter.com/QnLdNhVjWX— OPEN Rotterdam (@openrotterdam) April 28, 2021
With restaurants, cafes and bars allowed to serve customers on the premises for the first time since October, large crowds and long queues of people eagerly waiting to enjoy warm weather on outside terraces descended on many of the hospitality businesses. The staff of De Drie Gezusters cafe In Groningen, who were given a warm round of applause by the customers, said they were delighted with how the first day of reopening was going, AD reported.
"All the tables are almost full, the first drinks have gone out. The regulars are back, people who have missed socializing for seven months. But we also see many new faces. The weather is fantastic. It is 17 degrees, very pleasant. Another hour and then we have the sun on our terrace. We couldn't have thought of a better reopening," said Sander Hoekstra, assistant manager of De Drie Gezusters.
On Vrijthof in Maastricht, the waiters were already taking orders from guests waiting to enter just before 12 noon, but serving itself started at noon as planned. Precisely then, confetti was fired in front of the stretch of cafes and bars on the Vrijthof, and loud music could also be heard.
Hospitality association KHN was happy that the terraces were allowed to be reopened, but wants bars and restaurants to also be allowed to serve guests indoors by June 1.