Cafes and bars reopen, as officials say they won’t be using measuring tapes

Photo: Bas Horsting
‘The best terrace still, by some distance’. Bars reopen in Amsterdam. Photo: Bas Horsting

Cafe and bar terraces opened nationwide at 12 midday on Monday as the Netherlands took more steps to ease the coronavirus lockdown.

Cafes and restaurants may have 30 customers indoors, and no limits to terrace numbers as long as everyone is seated at a table and keeps 1.5 metres distance – unless they are members of the same family.

Local officials in the four big cities have already said that they will not be carrying out extra checks and that council wardens (boas) will only intervene in ‘excessive’ situations.

‘We are not going to go along the terrace with a measuring tape and we are not going to ask everyone at a table if they can prove they belong together,’ a spokesman for Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb told broadcaster NOS at the weekend.

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In Utrecht, the council has stressed that the warden’s job is to patrol public spaces but ‘not the situation in a company’. ‘Wardens will absolutely not go into a restaurant to count how many people are there,’ a spokesman said.

Hubert Bruls, chairman of the regional public safety council, said that much will be up to cafe owners and their customers. ‘The ball is with them,’ Bruls told news website ‘We will only intervene when it gets too much and we are not going to check who is sitting at a table.’

Meanwhile, two mosques in The Hague have closed their doors because of an outbreak of coronavirus among mosque-goers.

‘We understand that several dozen visitors at different mosques have been hit by coronavirus, despite all the measures recommended by the RIVM, and that one person has died,’ the As-Soennah mosque board said in a statement.

And in Rotterdam, Aboutaleb has ordered three of the city’s parks to be closed in the evenings and at nights because they are too busy, and because of a shooting incident.

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