Police will have trouble enforcing Covid group size limits during holidays
The maximum group size that applies to people at home during the holidays will be difficult for authorities to enforce. The police said they will mainly target illegal parties and excessive rule-breakers.
People are allowed to receive a maximum of four household guests aged 13 and up pn Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. The maximum group size also applies outdoors. Outside of the specific holidays, the group size is limited to two.
"Strictly according to the law, the group size cannot be maintained,” said police chief Willem Woelders. It is legally difficult to enforce on public streets, too, he acknowledged.
"The rules apply, but together with the Public Prosecution Service, we have looked at what can and cannot be enforced. If officers run into a group on the street, we will point out the rules to them. The larger the group, the sooner this will happen. We are not going to count the number of people in groups. We do not want to be that kind of police force,” he said, adding that there would be little prosecutors could do with such arrests.
"In practice, we will especially intervene at parties, and locations where large groups are gathered. The starting point is the health risk. If the police see things happening where the risk of infection is high, colleagues will act. Not with the aim of fines, but to put an end to that kind of activity."
The police is still regularly ending illegal parties. Woelders said, "Those parties are still there, although there is less media attention. We take action against them, especially at business locations. The parties at home are more complicated, because we have no ground to enter someone's home. We will always be on the lookout for excesses, and responding to complaints."
Woelders' message to society is, "Everyone is tired of all the restrictions around coronavirus, but use your common sense. The rules have to do with the health of yourself and everyone. Let that be the guideline for what you do with New Year’s. Take into account your neighbor and yourself, and then we will hardly need to intervene."
Reporting by ANP