Face masks will be mandatory in supermarkets and shops: Sources
The use of face masks will again be required in the supermarket and other stores. The shops will be considered publicly accessible indoor spaces, and will thus be subject to the same face mask mandates expected to take effect from Friday, government sources confirmed following a report in De Telegraaf.
A coronavirus access pass will be required in many other places, a policy change which also leaked out on Monday. The coronavirus access pass is already mandatory in the hospitality industry, casinos, certain events, and some arts and culture locations. Locations where people are continuously moving, such as museums, will also be included in the access pass requirement, as will fitness centers.
At some point, the Cabinet intends to require amusement parks and zoos to ask for coronavirus passes at entry points, but that will not happen immediately. According to the sources, more time will be needed to make that a requirement for legal reasons.
Measures will be announced on Tuesday evening during a press conference which will then take effect on Friday, but some decisions will also be announced a little later. The government is working behind the scenes to make it so that higher education facilities can be required to check for coronavirus access passes at building entries, should that be necessary in the future. A majority of Tweede Kamer members must first agree to this step.
On Tuesday morning, the responsible ministers met to take final decisions on the coronavirus measures. The relevant ministers did not want to provide details after the meeting, because they will be announced in a press conference on Tuesday evening.
Caretaker Minister of Health Hugo de Jonge did say that tightening the coronavirus measures is inevitable because the number of hospital beds occupied with Covid-19 patients has increased too much. He said it is also unavoidable that these measures will be painful.
Nevertheless, the minister said he does not regret that the measures were relaxed in recent months. "If measures are not necessary at a specific time, given a low number of infections and given a low number of hospital admissions, you have to scale them back. Otherwise it is simply disproportionate."
With increasing infections and hospital admissions, the Cabinet has to again adjust the measures to fit the current situation, he said.
Reporting by ANP