MPs clash over coronavirus access pass
A parliamentary debate on the current state of the coronavirus pandemic saw parliamentarians clashing about the coronavirus access pass, which will be mandatory in the catering- and cultural sectors from September 25. PVV and ChristenUnie are against mandating the access pass, saying that the cabinet is pressuring people into getting vaccinated. VVD and D66 are for using the access pass, saying that otherwise the over 80 percent of Netherlands residents who have been vaccinated will still have to maintain social distancing.
The coronavirus access pass can be shown in the form of a QR code through the CoronaCheck app. It is proof that you've been vaccinated against Covid-19, tested negative for the virus, or recently recovered from it and therefore have immunity. Anyone who wants to visit a restaurant, watch a movie in the cinema, or go to the theater will have to show their coronavirus access pass from September 25.
ChristenUnie is concerned that the access pass will lead to a greater division in society, according to NOS. "By pressing unvaccinated people, we put that group at a distance," MP Mirjam Bikker said. "Shouldn't we look at measures that promote unity?'
PVV leader Geert Wilders believes that this is "100 percent pressure and indirect coercion". According to Wilders, a mandatory access pass is in conflict with two motions that parliament previously passed, in which it was stated that there should be no coercion or pressure when it comes to vaccinations. Wilders also does not think it fair that people should get "a stick in their nose three times a week" to gain access to things.
But according to VVD parliamentarian Aukje de Vries, the measure is in line with the motions and also easy to explain, partly because testing for access is an alternative and remains free. The VVD also believes that not using the measure would mean a large group of people who have been vaccinated will be disadvantaged by a small group of people who have not been vaccinated.
De Vries thinks it is important that many people are getting more space now that the 1.5 meters rule is also abolished and that entrepreneurs can admit more people. According to her, that is the goal of the liberals, and not the increase in vaccination coverage, because more people would now be vaccinated. However, she still has questions about the 75 percent maximum capacity in indoor spaces.
D66 parliamentarian Jan Paternotte also spoke out for the large group of vaccinated people in the population when defending the access pass. "It is not justifiable for those people to have to maintain 1.5 meters," he said.
SGP parliamentarian Chris Stoffer believes that entrepreneurs should be given the choice between using access passes and maintaining social distancing. The VVD is not against this in principle, but doubts whether it is feasible and enforceable, said De Vries. She also wants to know from the cabinet what agreements have been made with municipalities and the police to enforce the matter. She criticized that some mayors already indicated that they will not actively do this and believe that no extra money should be spent here.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times.