Netherlands to require social distancing again starting tomorrow
Social distancing will again be required in the Netherlands for everyone aged 18 and older, the Cabinet announced on Tuesday. People in the country will be required to keep a distance of 1.5 meters from each other in most social situations.
Those in violation of the order can be fined 95 euros. The new rule will be enforceable by police officers and BOAs, the security teams hired by municipalities to make sure citizens follow different various regulations, the Ministry of Justice and Security said. "Entrepreneurs and managers of public spaces will [also] ensure that visitors can keep 1.5 meters away from each other," the ministry said in a statement.
It will not extend to people who share the same household. Other exemptions include locations where a coronavirus access pass is required for entry. Other restrictions may be required at locations where it is not possible to maintain social distancing requirements, such as a face mask obligation.
The Cabinet announced the decision just 45 minutes after health officials reported the seventh-straight week where a 40 percent increase in coronavirus infections was measured. Nearly 154,000 people were diagnosed with the infection during the past seven days. That set a new record high, despite the Cabinet implementing new coronavirus regulations on November 13.
That policy change included mandatory early closing times for cafes, bars, restaurants, events, most stores and many service providers. It also included a ban on public attendance at professional and amateur sports competitions.
Current rules in the Netherlands do not include social distancing, though the Cabinet "urgently advised" people to maintain a safe distance from one another earlier this month. Social distancing is considered one of the constant basic measures, along with practicing good hygiene, keeping indoor spaces ventilated, and getting tested when Covid-19 symptoms arise.
Earlier in the day, the Outbreak Management Team said that better compliance with the existing rules and advice would likely make it unnecessary to implement more lockdown-like measures. "Following the basic rules is the way to prevent stricter measures on top of the existing ones, up to a possible lockdown, being necessary for the coming winter period," the OMT wrote. "In the current situation of the virus circulation, this applies to both the unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals."