Residents of Netherlands, Belgium and Germany urged not to cross borders
Dutch, Belgian and German government officials have urgently called upon their residents to stay in their home countries as much as possible during the upcoming weeks, so that a cross-border surge of new coronavirus infections can be prevented. The Netherlands saw its first significant relaxation of lockdown measures on Wednesday with the curfew eliminated and cafe terraces and some non-essential stores allowed to reopen. In Belgium, outdoor terraces are set to reopen on May 8. Germany and its states along the Dutch border have yet to announce any relaxations of their coronavirus measures.
”Unfortunately, this is not the time for socializing, visiting friends or shopping across the border. The Dutch, Belgians and Germans must keep their distance from each other. That helps us in all three countries in the fight against corona and saves lives. Avoid unnecessary travel and come back to the Netherlands only in better times,” said the Dutch Caretaker Minister of Justice and Security Ferd Grapperhaus on the government website.
The Belgian Minister of the Interior Annelies Verlinden also pointed out that all non-essential travel between the three countries must be postponed until the coronavirus situation was more favorable.
“We have to show our solidarity and take responsibility not only nationally, but also internationally. Only in this way can we slow down the spread of the virus in both Belgium and the Netherlands. Crossing the border for a café or restaurant visit or to go shopping for a day promotes the further spread of the virus on both sides of the border and is therefore not a good idea,” she argued.
Words of Dutch and Belgian ministers were backed up by German political leaders Herbert Reul from North Rhine-Westphalia, and Boris Pistorius of Lower Saxony. They said they were hopeful that the vaccination will soon make it possible for international travel to resume again.
“The trust and smooth cooperation across the German-Dutch border is an impressive example of European solidarity and a value of the EU. As vaccination progresses across Europe, gradual normalization is slowly approaching. But until then, we all have to keep limiting ourselves, especially when it comes to freedom of movement,“ said Pistorius.