Cafés, supermarkets, shops prepare to close early as new coronavirus measures begin
Essential stores and supermarkets have to close at 8 p.m. for at least the next three weeks starting on Saturday. Non-essential stores will have to close even earlier, at 6 p.m.
Chair of the Royal Hospitality Union Netherlands (KHN), Robèr Willemsen, said before the press conference on Friday, there was "a lot of anger and sadness" among entrepreneurs. Willemsen said he was relieved that the Cabinet adjusted the closing hours for the hospitality sector from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
New coronavirus support packages will only partially make up for the financial damages, Willemsen feared.
Customers at restaurants, cafes and bars must have a fixed seat. The Cabinet has been working on a 2G plan that would only allow people vaccinated against Covid-19 and people who recovered from a coronavirus infection to get a QR code. Catering entrepreneurs who follow the 2G rule do not have to follow the fixed seating rule.
Casino owners were angered that they belong to the businesses that have to close at 6 p.m. Holland Casino said the restrictions announced on Friday evening were "incomprehensible and surprising." "The measures are disproportionate, arbitrary and also without substantiation," the casino branch wrote in a statement to the NL Times. Holland Casino was concerned that the early closure of casinos would lead to a "further flourishing of illegal activities that were already observed in various places in the Netherlands in the recent period."
The amusement park Efteling will also enforce the QR code check because the business said they could not guarantee that guests keep 1.5-meter distance on the premise. "Our park is 65 hectares large and has 200 attractions. Therefore, we cannot manage the situation without asking for a Covid access pass at the entrance," the amusement park said.
Theaters and cinemas were satisfied with the measures announced on Friday. They will not have to follow the same closing hours as other non-essential businesses. Many theaters have fewer than 1,250 seats. "The halls may remain full. This means that tickets sales will continue, no performances have to be canceled and the public will not be disappointed," a spokesperson for the Association of Theater and Concert Hall Directors (VSCD) said.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times.