Retailers pleased by lack of Covid access pass; Events sector asks for perspective
The Netherlands' business community was not surprised that the Cabinet extended the evening lockdown into January. Retailers are happy that they don't have to deal with a coronavirus access pass yet. Trade unions called on employers to be lenient with leave days, with the schools closing early. And the events sector called for some perspective.
Retailers' association INretail considers it a "wise decision" not to implement QR codes in shops yet. The branch organization expects "chaos in the shopping streets" when a mandatory coronavirus access pas is introduced. In a statement, INretail said that "intensive lobbying has been conducted for this, and it will continue until the goal of final adjustment has been achieved."
The association urges the public to shop in a staggered fashion and consciously choose quiet shopping moments like the start of the week or in the mornings. "Now that many people are on vacation in the last bit of this year and schools are obliged to close earlier, that call is extra important," INretail said.
While the extension of the evening lockdown is not a surprise, it is a disappointment. It means that late-night shopping in the critical retail month of December can't happen. The organization said that retailers are losing a lot of turnover due to the early closure.
Trade unions FNV and CNV want employers and the government to be lenient towards working parents whose children will have to stay home next week due to the new measures. CNV asked employers to be generous with leave next week. FNV called on the government to give extra leave days to working parents.
Due to the Cabinet's decision to close schools a week early, "many working parents are getting into trouble," CNV chairman Piet Fortuin said. FNV pointed out that many parents already used their leave days in previous school closures and quarantines. "It would be to the credit of the government if they now offer parents extra days of leave because the leave cards are now almost empty," FNV vice president Kitty Jong said. "Simply appealing to the benevolence of employers, as caretaker Prime Minister Rutte does, does not work in the real world."
Event organizer ID&T asked the Cabinet to quickly develop "a well-considered plan" for the cultural sector because the current strategy means that next year's festival schedule will again be virtually empty. "For our industry, where all preparations are made 6 to 12 months in advance, the strategy of running the country by making biweekly decisions is untenable. It is now clear that the fight against the virus is not over yet, and if there is no well-considered plan soon, there is a good chance that 2022 will be another year without events. That will have disastrous consequences for the industry."
Due to the longer-lasting measures, the Cabinet allocates millions of euros for extra support to the cultural sector. This does, however, involve an increased deductible. ID&T said this is "incongruous for a sector that has been hit like no other." "These kinds of measures, together with the lack of perspective, also ensure that we as a live sector lose our international lead to the other countries around us that do have a clear vision. This will have major consequences, namely an implosion of what was a very thriving industry," said the organizer.
The cultural sector will receive almost 60 million euros in compensation and 25 million euros in loans. The government hopes to say more about long-term support in the first three months of 2022.
Music venues are happy that the Cabinet is extending support for the cultural sector, but they still have many questions about the effect of the support measure. They would also like to see the Cabinet and the industry look at how venues can handle new coronavirus waves in the coming years, said Berend Schans, director of the Dutch Poppodia and Festivals Association.
Reporting by ANP.