Cafe terraces won’t reopen on April 21, as new infections rise again

Health minister Hugo de Jonge and prime minister Mark Rutte arrive at the meeting. Photo: Robin Utrecht ANP/HH
Health minister Hugo de Jonge and prime minister Mark Rutte arrive at the meeting. Photo: Robin Utrecht ANP/HH

The cabinet has decided not to relax the coronavirus measures by April 21 as rumours had suggested, a spokesman told reporters on Sunday.

Ministers met health experts from the Outbreak Management Team on Sunday afternoon to discuss the latest situation. Cabinet sources had suggested that café terraces could be reopened from April 21 and that the curfew could be abolished from that date.

However, ministers now say there are too many people in hospital and the number of infections is still too high to relax the rules. The new date, if the infection rate falls sufficiently, has been put at April 28.

On Sunday, the public health institute RIVM reported 8,288 new positive coronavirus tests, the highest figure in two weeks.

The total is well above the average over the past week, which has now increased to 6,964, just 2% down on the previous seven day period.

Health minister Hugo de Jonge had already warned people not to get their hopes up about a relaxation of the rules.

De Jonge and prime minister Mark Rutte will hold a press conference on Tuesday at 7pm to outline the latest situation.


Despite the increase in coronavirus cases, indoor events, performances and congresses can be held safely as long as a number of safety measures are taken, according to the organisers of several trial events in the Netherlands.

The experiments, the Fieldlab organisers say, show that seated indoor events with a ‘calm public’ can take place without sticking to the 1.5 metre rule if the regular audience is halved and everyone can show a negative coronavirus test before being admitted.

The results are based on two events in Utrecht in February.

Six other events have been organised since then, including a small festival and football match, but those results have not yet been published.

In total, 16 people who attended the festivals in Biddinghuizen have since developed coronavirus but it is unclear where they picked up the disease. In total 3,000 people attended those two events.

Amusement parks

In addition, this weekend a string of other government-backed experiments started to allow amusement parks, museums and castles to open to limited numbers of people who can prove they have a negative coronavirus test.

In total, some 450 locations will be allowed to host members of the public in the coming weeks – all who must have a negative coronavirus from an approved testing centre.

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