Cabinet wants 2G Covid checks possible at hospitality, events & culture sectors
The Cabinet wants to make it possible to introduce the 2G coronavirus access policy for the hospitality industry, events, cultural venues and non-essential services. Details emerged on Monday night from the text of a bill the caretaker Cabinet sent to the Tweede Kamer.
The 2G system is a modified version of the current 3G coronavirus access pass system that only grants admission to those who have been vaccinated against Covid-19, and those who were diagnosed with the coronavirus infection and recovered. The 3G system also allows those who have had a recent negative test result to also obtain a QR code that can be used in the CoronaCheck app.
The bill would make it possible to implement the 2G system only if the 3G system is deemed insufficient, the Cabinet said. That will be determined in part by the coronavirus situation being evaluated at the second or third worst risk levels assessed by the government. The three levels start at caution, or waakzaam in Dutch. It then escalates to concern (zorgelijk) and then serious (ernstig).
The other factor will determine where the 2G system is used, specifically the different venues where people congregate. These can be determined to be "high-risk environments," such as places where people are not assigned seats or keeping physical distance from others is difficult. In that case, the 2G system can be implemented in various locations, according to the bill. The measure does not have to be deployed across an entire sector, but can be applied in a more targeted manner.
Additionally, the Cabinet can decided that an entire sector is not at high-risk for spreading the coronavirus infections. There, the 2G system will not be considered. This may include arts and culture rehearsal spaces, and hair stylists. The Cabinet does not think that 2G will be needed any time soon in restaurants or at live performances.
It also said 2G will not apply in education, nor at worksites and offices. However, the Cabinet does wand the 3G system to be possible there. It also wants to introduce the use of 3G access passes in the "non-essential retail trade," such as hardware stores.
The Cabinet still needs to obtain support from a majority of both the Tweede Kamer and the Eerste Kamer for the bill to pass. An hours-long debate last week ended with no clear indication that the Cabinet would win over a majority. Rutte's party, VVD, said it will fully support the measure, as did coalition partner D66. The other coalition partners, CDA and ChristenUnie, were still grappling with the issue last week. ChristenUnie proposed a 1G alternative where everyone has to get tested to get an access pass, regardless of vaccination or recovery status.
PvdA said they would examine the issue further. A broad range of parties said they will not support the measure, including SP, GroenLinks, FvD, PvdD, PVV, JA21, BBB, Denk, Van Haga, SGP, and BIJ1.
During a press conference ten days ago, Prime Minister Mark Rutte argued that many entrepreneurs should be allowed to decide for themselves if they will use the 2G system to decide who can visit their businesses. He said those who want to employ the 3G system will face other restrictions, like guests must remain in assigned seating.
Health Minister Hugo de Jonge also said during that November 12 press conference that he especially wanted the system used in bars and cafes.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times.