Covid access pass ignorers will not immediately be fined
Municipalities will not immediately hand out fines from this weekend if entrepreneurs or companies do not properly check their guests or visitors for the coronavirus access pass. In the event of repeated or intentional violations of this obligation, the local triangle (mayor, police and Public Prosecution Service) can first issue a warning, and then an order subject to a fine of 2,500 euros, which can increase to 10,000 euros, or even close a location.
This is the outcome of a consultation on Wednesday between the Ministry of Justice and Security and the chairmen (mayors) of the security regions. Municipalities can decide for themselves how they act and when they close establishments. The mayor also determines when the order subject to a fine will be lifted. A fine often only needs to be paid if the violation happens again.
From Saturday, the coronavirus access pass is mandatory for access to the catering industry, the art and culture sector, and (sports) events. Visitors must be vaccinated, have a negative test, or have recovered from a coronavirus infection. At the same time, people do not have to keep 1.5 meters apart. The closing time is still midnight.
But entrepreneurs or companies that do not check their visitors properly or at all for an access pass do not have to fear a fine immediately The triangle will focus on enforcement "at locations where it deems the risk of contamination and/or non-compliance the greatest". According to the Ministry, this "does justice" to the efforts made by entrepreneurs and institutions "to comply with the measures".
The cabinet previously announced that it would allocate 45 million euros to help with the enforcement of the coronavirus access pass. "This money can be used, for example, for security guards, inspectors or hosts who help entrepreneurs check the access pass," according to the Ministry of Justice. It is not yet known how that money will be distributed.
Several municipalities already said that they will not act immediately if catering establishments do not check for coronavirus access passes, but first enter into discussions with entrepreneurs and warn them. This emerged from the ANP asking various municipalities about this. For example, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague indicated that they will first start the conversation and if that does not help, a warning will follow. Only if this also does not help, can a sanction follow. According to Amsterdam, systematic offenders should take into account closure for a week, mayor Femke Halsema wrote in a letter to the city council. Initially, she said that the checking of coronavirus access passes would be actively enforced. In Eindhoven, establishments could be closed for two weeks.
Reporting by ANP