Cabinet investigating if nightclubs can re-open by end of September
This article was updated.
The Outbreak Management Team advising the Cabinet on coronavirus policy is investigating whether nightclubs can open back up by the end of the month, and what is allowable for later operating hours for bars and restaurants. The Cabinet announced in mid-August that clubs and discotheques must remain closed until November 1, because the risk of spreading coronavirus is too high in this sector.
The Cabinet will again discuss the advice from the OMT experts at the prime minister's official residence, Catshuis, on Sunday. A final decision will then be made on Tuesday. Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge are expected to hold a press conference that evening to reveal what support the nightlife and events sector can count on after October 1. On that date, the general coronavirus financial support measures will come to an end.
The OMT has been asked what is possible from September 25, De Jonge said. "And for the nighttime catering industry, it specifically applies: will it be possible to do something already, or at a later moment," he said on Friday after the Cabinet meeting on Friday.
The Cabinet is considering making coronavirus access tickets required for entrance into cafes, restaurants and the cultural sector, it was previously announced. The use of mandatory access passes are also being considered for the restaurants and cafes which are currently open after 10 p.m. The organizations representing the catering industry has already announced that it strongly disagrees with such proposals.
Even in the autumn, measures will still be needed to keep the coronavirus under control, according to De Jonge. He wants as few restrictions as possible, but enough to prevent the healthcare system from becoming overloaded again. It is harder for society to swallow restrictions, but also harder for healthcare to handle a new wave of Covid-19 patients, he stated. That is a dilemma for the Cabinet, said De Jonge.
Reporting by ANP