People celebrating Sinterklaas despite Covid rules
The stricter coronavirus measures implemented by the Cabinet on Sunday seem to have had little effect on Netherlands residents' plans to celebrate Sinterklaas. Families still plan to get together on December 5, RTL Nieuws reports after speaking to online date planners and a Sinterklaas and Piet rental agency.
Datumprikker, a website and app for scheduling appointments, has about the same number of Sinterklaas appointments scheduled as in 2019, before the pandemic. "Since Friday's press conference, there has been a 12 percent decrease in all appointments made," Paul Bongers of Datumprikker said to RTL. "But if we look only at the Sinterklaas appointments, we see a small decrease of 5 percent, compared to appointments made in 2019. So it seems that 19 out of 20 appointments will continue around December 5."
Last year there was also a partial lockdown around December 5. Compared to then, 88 percent more Sinterklaas appointments have been scheduled this year, Bongers said. "With Christmas, it is even more than double: there are 125 percent more appointments planned than last year." He stressed that he does not know whether people will decide to do their Sinterklaas party in a Covid-safe way, like a Zoom meeting. The average group size of planned events is around eight people, he said.
Date planner site Lootjestrek.nl gave RTL similar figures. "We can't see whether people are celebrating Sinterklaas together or come up with something else creative, but we can see that people are celebrating it," founder Arjan Kuiper said. A survey done by Lootjestrek.nl before Friday's press conference showed just as many Sinterklaas parties planned this year as in 2019. "The figures show that the majority of people had planned to get together before the press conference. Agreements may be made, for example, to get together with the family bubble. Or video calls with grandparents and celebrate at a distance. I don't know how most people organized the evening, but our figures show that Pakjesavond is celebrated with an average group size of seven to eight people."
Amsterdam's Sint Nicolaas Centrale en Hulpsinterklaas, from whom you can rent a Sinterklaas or Piet to come to visit your party, has had few cancelations from private individuals since the press conference, organizer Dirk Bloothoofd said to RTL. According to him, the organization notified all customers that the visits could continue under certain conditions. "It is not up to us how many people are in a room. But we have taken our own precautions." Visits will be canceled if there was a Covid-19 infection around a customer, and all Sinterklaas and Piet actors must show a coronavirus access pass before they'll be sent out.