Restaurants, museums reopen as lockdown measures relax
Today everything in the Netherlands is allowed to open again, under certain conditions. Restaurants and bars are permitted to receive guests again, as can theaters, museums, casinos, zoos, and amusement parks. Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Ernst Kuipers announced the relaxation of the coronavirus restrictions in a press conference on Tuesday.
Opening times of 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. apply for all non-essential businesses. Coronavirus access passes are mandatory for everyone aged 13 and older in the catering industry, theaters and concert halls, museums, indoor sports locations, cinemas, zoos, amusement parks, saunas, and casinos. People must also wear a face mask on public transport and in public indoor spaces like shops and museums. For cinemas, restaurants, and theaters, visitors can remove their masks once seated.
The announcement that movie cinemas would reopen again sparked a run on tickets on Tuesday evening. In some cases, people were in a digital queue for over 40 minutes, with thousands of people trying to buy a movie ticket. The major cinema chains' sites were easily accessible again on Wednesday morning. People could buy tickets at large operators like Pathe and Vue without waiting in a digital queue.
People especially scrambled to buy tickets for big blockbusters like Spider-Man: No Way Home and The Matix Resurrections. The umbrella organization for cinemas said that it was happy that the public was finding their way back to the theaters again after the lockdown.
World of Dinos - the largest traveling dinosaur expo in Europe - will open again in De Kromhouthal in Amsterdam due to the relaxed coronavirus measures. The expo will be open from February 5 to 27. "There was an immediate rush for tickets after last night's press conference. Reservations are made en masse. The public is clearly looking forward to it again," said spokesperson Mike Leegwater.
For schools, only pupils who have symptoms or have tested positive for Covid-19 have to stay home. The rest of the class can go to school. Pupils are advised to do a Covid-19 test at home twice a week.
Kuipers also relaxed the quarantine rules for essential workers, he said in a letter to parliament. Essential workers, like waste collectors and healthcare workers, don't have to quarantine after contact with an infected person if they don't have symptoms and if their employer approved them coming into work.
The Cabinet assumes that the relaxations will lead to a spike in the number of coronavirus infections. Rutte and Kuipers, therefore, stressed that people should keep adhering to the basic rules - maintain social distancing, wash their hands regularly, keep rooms well ventilated, and get tested if they have symptoms.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times