Cafe terraces will be exempt from new coronavirus pass rules, says Cabinet
Visiting a cafe terrace will soon be possible without a coronavirus pass. A majority of the Tweede Kamer this week voted in favor of the Cabinet's plan to use access passes in, among other things, the catering industry, but believed inspecting them on terraces went too far. The Cabinet has now agreed to this and has sent the amended rules to the Tweede Kamer and the Eerste Kamer, the lower and upper houses of Parliament. If people want to enter the cafe, also to use the toilet, to pay or to reach the terrace, they must show a valid QR code.
Various parties, including all coalition parties, reservations about applying the measure on the terraces because people there are sitting in the open air where the viral infection spreads less easily.
Caretaker Health Minister Hugo de Jonge understands the considerations of the Tweede Kamer. In addition, he states that generally not very large groups of people sit together on terraces. That is why the Cabinet is going along with the lower house and the access pass for terrace visitors will not be required.
From September 25, everyone aged 13 or older who wants to go to venues, including restaurants or cinemas, must show a corona virus pass. This can be obtained in the CoronaCheck app by being fully vaccinated against Covid-19, having proof of recovery from a coronavirus infection, or a negative test result.
If an outdoor terrace is not covered, or is open on at least three sides, guests may be served without a coronavirus certificate. The rules for takeout are also being relaxed, so that sports canteens, for example, can sell drinks without a scanning the QR code if the drinks are taken elsewhere.
One condition is that the scheme is not used to organize parties or festivals, according to the new rules.
During Thursday's debate in Parliament about the new coronavirus policy, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he saw added value in coronavirus access passes for the terrace. Terraces can become crowded and chaotic, and it is easier for enforcement if few exceptions are made, according to him.
Some 45 million euros will be made available for enforcement. With that money, municipalities can hire security workers to check whether catering establishments actually check their guests for a valid coronavirus pass. The precise details of enforcement will be worked out in the coming days, together with the mayors who together form the Security Council.
Reporting by ANP