Dutch gov't postpones lifting Covid restrictions to May 18 or later
The Cabinet announced on Saturday that no further coronavirus lockdown restrictions will be loosened on May 11. The government stated they want to hold off on relaxing measures for at least one further week.
In the six-step plan to reopen the country, the Cabinet previously stated that the earliest date the second step of the plan could take place would be on May 11. This includes granting more opportunities to participate in sports and reopening amusement parks, zoos and other venues.
According to the Cabinet, hospital admissions are still too high to move forth with reopening the country as intended. “We see that the numbers are well over the peak but also that a decrease in coronavirus cases is not evident enough to responsibly continue with the reopening plan”, the government said in a statement.
The Sunday meeting at the Catshuis, the official residence for the prime minister, will also be postponed for one week.
Even before the first step was taken last week, the Outbreak Management Team advised the government to suspend relaxing measures until the end of the third wave became more definite. The government decided to proceed with reopening the country anyway based on RIVM models predicting a decrease in hospital admissions.
On Wednesday the first step of the plan came into action with the elimination of the curfew, removal of the shop-by-appointment rule and the reopening of cafe terraces between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. Higher education students were also allowed to enter classrooms for the first time in four months.
In the initial plan, a greater array of indoor venues, such as restaurants, cinemas and museums would be allowed to reopen with limited capacity on May 25 as part of the third step. It has not yet been decided when this step will occur, but the six-step plan was announced with the intention that each decrease in restrictions would occur a minimum of two weeks apart.