Municipalities ask Dutch PM to reopen non-essential stores
Multiple municipalities sent a letter to the Cabinet asking to reopen non-essential stores. They fear the consequences for shopkeepers if the lockdown is extended.
The municipality of Barneveld was one of the first to send an open letter to Prime Minister Mark Rutte last week. She asked him "to open the non-essential sector as soon as possible with appropriate safety measures." Since then, many other municipalities have sent similar letters to political The Hague.
Veenendaal, Nijkerk, Putten, Ede, Overbetuwe, and Wageningen sent such urgent letters in the same region, and the call is also shared in other parts of the country. The Zuid-Holland municipalities of Krimpenerwaard and Sliedrecht and the Noord-Holland municipalities of Opmeer and Bergen have also asked the Prime Minister for attention to the consequences of the lockdown for entrepreneurs.
The call to open non-essential stores is getting louder. Retailers' association INretail and the Council of Dutch Retail (RND) have long wanted the Cabinet to make it possible for shops to open again, as has hospitality association KHN. Hubert Bruls, mayor of Nijmegen and chairman of the Security Council, also asked the Cabinet to give entrepreneurs more breathing room if hospitals are not in danger of overloading in the next week or two.
Some non-essential stores have already taken matters into their own hands, opening in protest over the weekend. Some retailers are also planning to do that this coming weekend.
Reporting by ANP