Questions asked as Amsterdam ice cream shop switches to sell face masks
Questions are being asked in Amsterdam after a shop selling apparently medical grade face masks opened in a former ice cream parlour in the city’s Jordaan district.
On Sunday, the shop was offering the masks for sale for €9 each in cash, or three for €25, even though the official recommendation to retailers is to accept debit card payments only. On Saturday the masks were being sold for €10 each.
The owner of the shop, which most recently sold ice cream and oliebollen to tourists, told RTL Nieuws he had arranged the shipment from China via a friend and that he was selling the masks to be able to pay the rent of €4,000 a month.
‘They can be bought, but you have to look a bit harder and be prepared to pay a high price,’ the owner, named as Hank, told RTL Nieuws.
GroenLinks councillor Imane Nadif says she has asked the city authorities to intervene. ‘We have to combat the virus together and that does not mean seeing it as a way to make money,’ she told local broadcaster AT5. ‘This development worries us greatly.’
A spokesman for the social affairs ministry told broadcaster NOS there are no restrictions on shops selling masks. ‘Inspectors can, however, check if the certification is correct, but only after someone has made a complaint,’ the spokesman said.
The government has said several times that the Netherlands has a shortage of face masks for healthcare workers.
This article was updated on Sunday to reflect the drop in price.
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