Rutte: Catering businesses need to do better to stop 4th Covid wave; Work from home when possible
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that the hospitality sector needs to do a better job of making sure that guests adhere to government rules about physical distancing, and customers remain in their assigned seats. He said that this is critical considering that the number of coronavirus infections in the country remains high.
“It is not going well in too many places in the catering industry. We really have to adhere to the applicable strict conditions,” he said at a brief news conference Monday afternoon.
Like Health Minister Hugo de Jonge, Rutte also noted that coronavirus infections were stabilizing in the country. The number of people testing positive exploded in July as the Delta variant swept through the Netherlands when fewer than half of adults were fully vaccinated against Covid-19, and the Cabinet opted to simultaneously release most lockdown restrictions.
Rutte said that the government can not check every single bar, cafe and restaurant in the Netherlands to make sure they are complying with the rules. “That is why I am making an appeal to everyone,” he said.
“Things are going well in many places, but also not well at too many locations. So I say, ‘Keep each other on point.’”
As reported last week, every resident of the Netherlands was also being asked to work from home as much as possible starting on Monday. The request was one of the many restrictions released on June 26, though the Outbreak Management Team never suggested that it was a possibility.
Additionally, the Cabinet is now advising people responsible for indoor spaces to make sure sufficient ventilation is maintained. “That applies to homes, schools, shops and catering. The advice is to let fresh air flow through for at least 15 minutes per day,” Rutte said.
The recent push for advising the public on ventilation initially came from PVV leader Geert Wilders during a debate in Parliament last week. The ventilation advice has been adopted as part of the basic rules repeated by the government, including maintaining 1.5 meters of distance from others, practicing good hygiene, and getting tested for coronavirus when symptoms arise, then staying home until a negative result is known.