No new measures in Amsterdam yet, but monitoring to be stepped up

A stencilled street sign in Amsterdam. Credit:
A stencilled street sign in Amsterdam. Credit:

Despite expectations of tough new measures to stop the spread of coronavirus in Amsterdam, the city’s mayor Femke Halsema has only said that enforcement of the current rules will be stepped up and that the use of music amplifiers outdoors is to be banned.

‘In the short term, we are stepping up the supervision of cafes, bars and party centres,’ she said at a press conference on Tuesday evening. ‘After one warning, they can be closed for up to four weeks.’ Parties of over 100 people will also have to be registered with the authorities, the mayor said.

Amsterdam and Rotterdam are at the centre of the current increase in coronavirus infections and there were 1,400 new cases in the city in the past week.

If the current increase in infections in the capital does not go down, Halsema said she may bring in a ban on gatherings of over 100 people, close party centres and limit private boat use, and bring in a midnight curfew for cafes and bars. Steps are also being taken to discourage tourists, the mayor said.

A decision on these measures will be taken on August 25, the mayor said in a separate briefing for city councillors.

The mayor’s press conference came as the flagship Amsterdam department store De Bijenkorf was ordered to shut down for two weeks because of a coronavirus outbreak among staff. The store, on the Dam in the centre of the city, is particularly popular with wealthy tourists.

Last weekend, city officials were forced to close off several streets in the red light district because there were so many visitors that social distancing was impossible. In addition, many people were ignoring  the requirement to wear a face mask.

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