Coronavirus in the Netherlands: what you need to know (August 13)

sign outside the GGD test location at the RAI in Amsterdam
sign outside the GGD test location at the RAI in Amsterdam

Prime minister Mark Rutte outlined the next stages in the dismantling of the Netherlands’ coronavirus regulations on Friday, and set November 1 as the target date for when things will be back to normal. Here’s what you need to know:

The government says it is ‘doing its utmost’ to make getting vaccinated against coronavirus as simple as possible. A number of regional health boards (GGD) are now using mobile and drop in vaccination centres. An overview of these walk-in vaccination centres is available online.

August 30
The 1.5 metre rule will end in colleges and universities, although students will have to wear a mask when moving around, self test twice a week and there is a 75-student limit on lecture theatres.

The regulations for secondary schools – keeping 1.5 metres from teachers and wearing a mask outside class – will not change at the start of the new term, because of the low vaccination rate among teenagers to date.

Cafes and bars must still close at midnight and guests must all have a seat.

All other measures currently in place remain and testing for travel will remain free of charge until October 1.

September 17
A press conference, at which Rutte and health minister Hugo de Jonge will announce if the next step in their programme to fully open up the Netherlands again can be taken.

September 20
The next step. The 1.5 metre rule will be abandoned, as will most other measures. Masks will no longer be required on public transport. Clubs and discos remain closed.

However, with the decision to end social distancing, new regulations are being introduced for the hospitality industry, festivals and congresses, sports matches, and cinemas and theatres.

If locations want to admit more than 75 guests or ticket holders, they will only be allowed to admit people with a coronavirus certificate, meaning they have been fully vaccinated, or have a negative test result (no older than 24 hours) or have recently recovered from coronavirus.

Charges will be introduced for the free tests for entry currently on offer.

The rule will apply to all locations, with or without fixed seating, and both indoors and outdoors.

The vaccination rate and the spread of new infections will be key in deciding whether or not social distancing can be abandoned.

November 1
The aim is to scrap all remaining restrictions – and allow clubs to reopen – from November 1.

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