More NL companies requiring proof of vaccination: report
Now that most all Netherlands residents have the option to get vaccinated against Covid-19, organizations are feeling increasingly free to require proof of vaccination. Travel companies in particular are taking this step, the Volkskrant reports.
The Ministry of Public Health is not in favor of companies implementing their own coronavirus policy, a spokesperson said to the newspaper. "But we are not going to say: this is not allowed."
It is still unclear whether the vaccination obligation is legally tenable. Legal scholars differ on this, with some professors saying that an alternative - like a negative test - should always be offered if possible. And others emphasizing companies' freedom to determine for themselves what requirements they place on customers. Companies in the Netherlands can't legally oblige their employees to get vaccinated.
But many companies are not waiting for this debate to decide where they stand. The travel industry in particular feels that the decision was basically made for them, with employees and travelers asking for measures to help them feel safer, people involved said to the newspaper.
"We believe it is perfectly possible," Frank Oostdam, chairman of travel companies' association ANVR, said to the Volkskrant. "Many companies have become wise through trial and error in recent months. One infection causes a lot of hassle during a trip."
Camping specialist ACSI, which organizes trips throughout Europe for Dutch and German campers, is one of the companies now requiring proof of vaccination. "Both tour guides and participants indicated that they think it is important that everyone is vaccinated," manager Pieter Melieste said to the newspaper. "Then you have to make a choice. If we hadn't done it, we would have had more cancellations. The choice was more or less imposed on us."
Camp club NKC pointed out that they work with volunteers, and have a duty of care towards them. "Both the travelers and the volunteers were happy when we introduced this measure." The coronavirus rules in other countries also play a role. Un-vaccinated travelers from the Netherlands who plan to spend more than 24 hours in Germany, for example, have to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival. "Almost all our group tours go through Germany. We would not be able to organize them without a vaccination obligation," travel organization Oad said to the newspaper.
A dance school in Utrecht also decided to only let vaccinated people come to lessons, resulting in an avalanche of threats and insults to dance teacher Peter Vlug. On Facebook he was called the "son of Hitler" and a stranger told him he's risking the death penalty, he said to NOS. He even had meals delivered to him that he did not order. Despite this, he is sticking to his decision. "I have the responsibility to create a safe dance environment for my pupils," he said to the broadcaster.