Hospitality sector pleased with end to access testing; Others bothered by quarantine rules
There have been varying responses to the latest coronavirus press conference. Health Minister Ernst Kuipers announced on Tuesday that Dutch society will drop the last remaining obligatory rules linked to the coronavirus, starting on March 23.
The hospitality association, Koninklijke Horeca Nederland (KHN), is “extremely happy and relieved” that almost all corona measures will end later this month. Meanwhile, employers’ organizations VNO-NCW and MKB-Nederland are disappointed that the quarantine advice has not been relaxed, as according to business owners, people who are not symptomatic of Covid-19 use quarantine as a reason to stay at home unnecessarily. The CNV labor union is pleased that the Cabinet has decided to cancel the advice about working from home part-time, while the FNV labor union wants employees to be able to choose when they work from home.
KHN chairman Robèr Willemsen expressed his joy that most restrictions will soon be gone. “Now that the end of the epidemic is in sight, we can fully commit ourselves to the recovery of the hospitality industry at the Cabinet level. Due to the perseverance and resilience of the people in the industry, it won't fail.”
There are still restrictions that will continue to apply to the hospitality industry for another week, such as a negative test required for entering venues where more than 500 people are present. KHN pushed for an end to that restriction.
The coming period for his industry will likely be dominated by coronavirus recovery, Willemsen believes. “There is still a long way to go before the industry is back to pre-coronavirus levels.” He said most hospitality businesses are still struggling with cash flow problems, there is little money for investments, and insufficient revenue for resolving debt.
Employers’ organizations VNO-NCW and MKB-Nederland are disappointed that the quarantine rules have not been relaxed because it encourages people who are not actually sick to use quarantine as a reason to stay home rather than go to the office. The business organizations believe that the government should work on a long-term plan to deal with the coronavirus. The plan should prevent the country from going into lockdown again during the next wave of infections, or in the case of a new variant emerging.
Business organizations are still discussing the right approach to tackling the debt burden that has accumulated for entrepreneurs due to the crisis. They say that entrepreneurs must be able to build up equity again, but they must also be given more time to repay tax debts.
Like the employers’ organizations, the CNV trade union is pleased that the Cabinet has decided to cancel the advice to work from home. "Now that the greatest threat of the crisis has passed, it is logical for the cabinet to let go of the last measures," federation chairman, Piet Fortuin, said. "Many workers long for office life again."
However, For CNV, the fact that the advice to work from home no longer applies does not mean that everyone should work full-time in the office again. The union called on employers to be generous with the option to work from home. ”Hybrid working is preferred by the majority. It's good if employers facilitate this because it improves productivity."
The FNV trade union emphasized employees opting to work from home is an issue of particular importance. Vice-chair Kitty Jong thinks it is "logical" that the government's advice to work from home half the time will soon not apply.
FNV agrees with the announcement that the face mask obligation in public transport is being watered down to being advised, but not mandatory. Jong points out that enforcing the obligation is becoming "increasingly difficult." However, according to the vice-chairman, it is "good that attention is still paid to vulnerable people."
Reporting by ANP