The Dutch hospitality industry is ‘very disappointed’ at the new measures brought in by the government to curb the spread of coronavirus and wants the government to clarify plans to require the registration of all guests, lobby group KHN said in a statement.
Prime minister Mark Rutte said on Thursday evening announced plans to clamp down on cafes and restaurants, giving local mayors the right to impose curfews and to close down bars for 14 days if they are found to be at the centre of a cluster.
In addition, all guests must be seated – whether inside or out – and answer questions about their health on arrival. Several cafes and bars, mainly in Rotterdam and Amsterdam, have already been closed after multiple clients were found to have coronavirus.
The decision, KHN said, is ‘very disappointing’ but if the measures are necessary in view of the health of the public, then the KHN expects local officials to look for solutions ‘together with the industry’.
The hospitality industry was hardest hit by the earlier lockdown and, according to KHN director Dirk Beljaarts, some 45% of companies are technically bankrupt.
Talk of fines and closures is counterproductive, the KHN said. ‘Instead we should be winning support for the measures from the public. And the government has an important role in this when it comes to information.’
The focus now is ‘very much on the hospitality industry, even though it does not have the highest number of infections’, Beljaarts told news website Nu.nl. ‘The government’s call to act responsibly is aimed at everyone, not at a particular sector.’
Ministers confirmed on Thursday evening that most traceable infections are picked up at home, at work, and during family visits.
Amsterdam cafe owner Won Yip, one of whose bars was closed by city officials, told broadcaster NOS the rules are inconsistent. ‘Travellers from risky countries won’t be forced to undergo a test, but they could end up in our cafes and then we have to close?’
‘My personnel wear masks and everything has been cleaned by professionals. If you do all you can to get organised, what more can they expect of you?’.
The new get tough approach also applies to museums, cinemas and amusement parks. A spokeswoman for the Efteling theme park told the Parool that she was unaware of any people picking up coronavirus during a visit.
‘I really hope it does not happen to us,’ Linda Roovers said. ‘The 67 days we had to close cost us millions. We have a workforce of 3,500 and you can do the sums if we all had to stay home for two weeks.’
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