Three of the five remaining coal-fired power plants in the Netherlands will see either their production scale back dramatically or their facilities close altogether in order to curb greenhouse gas emissions in the country. The Cabinet agreed to the measure on Friday, undisclosed sources told broadcaster NOS nearly a week later.
Schools in The Hague region lost touch with hundreds of pupils after schools closed as one of the measures to curb the spread of coronavirus Covid-19. These kids aren't following online lessons, and their teachers can't get in touch of them or their parents, Omroep West reports after speaking to multiple school groups in the area. Almost 400 pupils have fallen off the radar in The Hague and the surrounding area, according tot he broadcaster.
The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science allocated 2.5 million euros to purchase laptops for school pupils who have to do distance learning due to the coronavirus and do not have the proper equipment at home. This money will buy laptops for over 6,800 pupils in primary-, secondary-, and secondary vocational education, Sivon, a partnership of school boards, said to NOS.
Airlines are only allowed to give vouchers in return for a canceled flight if the passenger agrees. If not, the canceled ticket must be refunded, European Commissioner for Transport Adina Valean said. With that she threw a spanner in the works of Dutch Infrastructure Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen's plan to allow airlines to compensate passengers with vouchers.
Mona Keijzer, the State Secretary for Economic Affairs in the Netherlands, responded by asking the public to accept the vouchers as a way of supporting the embattled travel industry.
Closures to curb the spread of the coronavirus mean that restaurants, bars, cafes and other hospitality and catering businesses will lose out at around 5 billion euros in turnover this year, according to estimates from hospitality association KHN. Department store chain HEMA is also being hit hard by Covid-19 and is taking measures to try and prevent collapse.
Home sales in the Netherlands decreased by 12 percent in March compared to the same month last year, and the number of homes put up for sale decreased by 9 percent, according to figures from realtors association NVM. The number of mortgage applications, on the other hand, increased by almost a third in March compared to February, according to figures from De Hypotheker, NOS reports.
The coronavirus is having a massive impact on the Netherlands' tourism sector. Nearly 60 percent of Netherlands residents have already decided to postpone their summer vacation plans, and half said they don't know if they'll go on vacation at all this year, the Netherlands' tourism board NBTC said based on a study by DVJ Insights.
Schiphol Airport went smoke-free starting on Wednesday, closing the last of its designated smoking areas located in the secured parts of the airport. Smoking was already forbidden in areas outside of security checkpoints.
The square outside Schiphol Plaza, known as Jan Dellaertplein, is the last remaining place where passengers and visitors may smoke at the airport. The airport plans to move the smoking areas there further away from the plaza’s entries and exits.
Despite sex clubs being closed and the practice of high-contact professions being banned to curb the spread of coronavirus Covid-19, many sex workers in the Netherlands are still working, only from home. They have bills to pay and some are not eligible for government social security schemes and emergency funds, Nieuwsuur reports after speaking to sex workers and associations that represent them.
Speaking about the heightened tensions between the Netherlands and several southern EU nations over the issuance of “coronabonds”, Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra indicated on Tuesday that he had previously shown “too little empathy” for the plight of Europe’s southern economies. Such a measure would be designed to support weaker economies, particularly in the south, which are struggling under the weight of the coronavirus pandemic.
The measures in place to curb the spread of coronavirus Covid-19 will be extended until at least April 28, Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced in a press conference on Tuesday evening, after meeting with experts, advisers and the Ministerial Crisis Management Team. During this time schools, daycare facilities, restaurants, museums, and other contact-heavy businesses will remain closed.
The opening of Lelystad Airport, intended to take over holiday flights from crowded Schiphol, has again been delayed, this time due to the coronavirus crisis. The planned opening at the end of this year is no longer feasible, Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen of Infrastructure said in a letter to parliament on Tuesday. The aim is now to open the airport in November 2021, she said, NU.nl reports.
Rotterdam and the province of Zeeland closed campsites and other tourist destinations to keep tourists out of these regions, in order to not put too much pressure on their healthcare systems during the Covid-19 crisis.
Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb of Rotterdam ordered campsites and permanent holiday accommodations closed on the Zuid-Holland islands, according to RTL Nieuws. Though permanent residents will still be allowed to live in their homes located on holiday destinations.
With schools being closed and parents working from home due to the coronavirus, kids in the Netherlands saw their daily screen time increase by around an hour. And while most schools and parents are satisfied with how the first two weeks of distance learning has gone, many are also concerned about children falling behind in their school work, according to two different studies, Het Parool reports.
The government will cover up to 90 percent of wages for companies that lost at least 20 percent of turnover due to the coronavirus over a period of three months, Minister Wouter Koolmees of Economic Affairs and Employment announced on Tuesday. This measure, intended to preserve employment, applies to wages up to 9,538 euros per month per employee, NOS reports.
KLM is looking into ways to expand measuring the temperature of travelers flying with the Dutch airline during the coronavirus crisis. These health checks are currently performed on flights to Canada, Seoul, and Singapore at the request of these locations, a spokesperson for the company said to NU.nl. CNV is calling on employers to do more to protect their workers against Covid-19.
Workers in healthcare and welfare occupations find their work most emotionally draining. Teachers, especially in primary education, most often get emotionally involved in their work, Statistics Netherlands reported on Tuesday based on a 2018 survey among 63 thousand workers. The top 10 most emotionally draining jobs are all on the list of "crucial workers" who have to keep working through the coronavirus crisis.
The Netherlands' Outbreak Management Team advised the government to extend current measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 through to end-April or early-May. The team also recommended limiting inland tourism, sources in The Hague told RTL Nieuws. The government is meeting on Tuesday to decide which advice to follow and will officially announce measures in a press conference expected around 7:00 p.m.
Former Dutch Central Bank head Nout Wellink has voiced his dissent against the government for its reluctance to embrace "coronabonds," a common debt instrument designed to support embattled Eurozone economies in the wake of the coronavirus health crisis. In an interview on Monday with NPO Radio 1, Wellink expressed his support for the joint debt program in the European Union.
An outage affecting KPN, VodafoneZiggo, and T-Mobile is causing connection problems throughout the Netherlands. Various healthcare institutions reported that they are hard to reach by telephone at present.
The Deventer Hospital and hospital group Rijnstate both reported on Twitter that they are difficult to reach due to the outage. "We recommend that you keep trying. Sorry for the inconvenience!" Rijnstate said. GGD Drenthe, and the Zaans Medical Center also reported problems with their telephones, according to NOS.
The Dutch Air Force continues to train, despite restrictions in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the military branch said on Twitter, after fighter jets were spotted racing through the skies over multiple regions of the Netherlands on Monday. The unannounced training caused some panic and consternation on social media.
Entrepreneurs in the retail, hospitality, and travel sectors are currently much more negative about the economic climate in the Netherlands than a few months ago. More entrepreneurs expect the economy to deteriorate than expect it to improve, though on balance they still expect a higher turnover in the coming months, Statistics Netherlands reported on Monday.
The municipality of Amsterdam is making 3,250 laptops and 450 WiFi hotspots available to pupils who do not have the proper equipment at home to follow distance education while the schools are closed during the coronavirus crisis. With this emergency measure, alderman Marjolein Moorman wants to combat inequality and prevent children from falling behind, she said to AT5.
The laptops and WiFi hotspots will be available to pupils who need them for as long as the schools are closed. The laptops will be distributed on Monday. A maximum of one laptop is available per family.
Passengers on flights from New York will not be subject to extra screenings when they arrive at Schiphol airport. Their temperature will not be measures and they won't be asked about symptoms, a spokesperson for Schiphol said to RTL Nieuws. "That is currently the policy in the Netherlands. That policy is determined by the government, not by Schiphol," the spokesperson said.
New York was hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. Of the over 2 thousand deaths in the country, over 700 happened in New York.