MP’s want Covid access tests to return soon; No face mask demand planned
A parliamentary majority wants the Testing for Access system for festivals and events to be reinstated as soon as possible. The events sector needs perspective and the cabinet therefore has to clarify before August 13 how the test system can be resumed "safely and responsibly", the VVD, D66, and CDA said in a motion filed during a parliamentary debate on the increasing coronavirus infections.
Due to the explosive increase in coronavirus infections, the cabinet scrapped the possibility for events and festivals to require attendees to show that they tested negative for the coronavirus before entering the event. With this system, they did not have to adhere to other coronavirus measures like social distancing. The test system did not work properly and there were multiple outbreaks at nightclubs and festivals.
Scrapping this system was a blow to the events sector, which only regained some perspective in the past weeks after a year of being closed, the three coalition parties said. Their motion, which received broad support, called on the cabinet to consult with the events sector on responsibly reinstating the Testing for Access system, also drawing lessons from the Fieldlab events experiments earlier this year. They also want the cabinet to get advice from the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) on this.
Over 30 event organizations filed a lawsuit against the Dutch State, asking that they be allowed to hold events with the precautions taken in the Fieldlab experiments. The court in The Hague will handle the case on Friday.
The topic of face masks was also briefly raised during the debate on Wednesday, mainly by PvdA parliamentarian Attje Kuiken. She wanted to know from Health Minister Hugo de Jonge whether the tightened measures announced on Friday were enough to get the coronavirus infections under control, and whether the obligation to wear a face mask in some public spaces should not be re-introduced.
De Jonge said that the cabinet is following the OMT advice, which mainly limits face mask use to care institutions and on public transport. "If the infection rate outside increases, you will certainly have to work more with face masks in the care of vulnerable people," he said. And better enforcement of the face mask rule needed on public transport, he said. But other than that, the cabinet is not planning to impose any further obligations to wear a mask.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte also said that the advice to work from home as much as possible will be reinstated in a further attempt to reduce the spread of the highly contagious Delta coronavirus variant in the country.