Ministers understand lockdown troubles, but mayors have to enforce Covid rules
Minister Hanke Bruins Slot of Home Affairs understands that mayors want to turn a blind eye to entrepreneurs who violate the coronavirus rules. "On the other hand, we agreed on the rules together in the interest of public health."
Mayors are responsible for enforcing the coronavirus rules. Several mayors indicated that they would turn a blind eye to shops and catering establishments on Saturday. They see it as a peaceful demonstration against the hard lockdown that's had catering establishments, non-essential stores, and contact professions closed since December 19. The mayors that chair the 25 security regions agreed that following in-effect coronavirus rules should always remain the example by which they lead.
Nevertheless, shopkeepers, bar owners, and restaurant owners in Valkenburg were allowed to open their doors on Friday. "It shows that entrepreneurs are currently having a hard time," said Bruins Slot (CDA). "I understand that." She understands "that mayors try to stand up for their entrepreneurs. On the other hand, mayors also have an important task regarding enforcement." According to the Minister, mayors are trying to find a balance.
Earlier this week, Justice Minister Dilan Yesilgoz caused a fuss when she said additional enforcement wouldn't achieve much if some entrepreneurs want to open their doors against the rules. MPs requested clarification. "Obviously, there must be enforcement," the VVD Minister said on Friday.
About Valkenburg, Yesilgoz said that she hopes the mayor will "make the decision locally" about enforcement and control. "It is not so that we prescribe that from The Hague." She also hopes that there will be "a good conversation."
The Cabinet has yet to make an official decision on whether to extend or relax the current lockdown. Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Ernst Kuipers will give a press conference on Friday evening.
Reporting by ANP.