The promise of a prolonged spell of frost and snow means skating on natural ice is once again on the agenda, and the regional safety boards have drawn up a number of rules for skating during the coronavirus pandemic.
‘Yes, you can skate,’ safety board chief Hubert Bruls told NPO radio. ‘You can compare it with going out for a walk in the countryside or doing some form of sport. It’s all allowed.’
Many Dutch towns and villages, particularly in the north, have a local ice club where skaters gather to skate on a frozen field or on a car park which has been sprayed with water.
According to the safety board guidelines, these outdoor rinks may open and the under 17s can skate in groups. People aged 18 and over may skate alone or with one other person, provided they keep 1.50 metres distance.
However, competitions and races are not on the table, and changing rooms must remain shut. Kiosks where skaters can pick up a drink and something to eat – known as koek en zopie – can open for business.
Skating clubs are also being urged to appoint a ‘coronavirus coordinator’ who will have the power to close down the rink if it gets too busy.
The Netherlands is set to be hit by snow and freezing conditions this weekend. According to some forecasts, at least 20 centimetres of snow will fall in places from Saturday and the frost will last until next Thursday at least.