This weekend, widespread use of the coronavirus pass came into effect in the Netherlands, and people now need to show a QR card and ID to go to a club or sit inside a bar or restaurant. Clubs are open (up to midnight) after being closed for 18 months and bars are busy again. So how did it go?
The Parool reported that the Dutch capital was ‘buzzing’. ‘I talked to people who hadn’t danced or heard loud music in two years. They are euphoric,’ Vincent Reinders, owner of club Radio Radio, told the paper.
Pllek on NDSM wharf was immediately visited by council wardens but was given a clean bill of health. Owner Sjoerd Steenbeek said the abolition of the 1.5 metre rule has ‘livened things up’. ‘That has been the biggest difference,’ he said.
Neighbouring IJver said it had not had CoronaCheck pass problems but that some reservations for big groups been cancelled. ‘They want to avoid discussions with people in the group who have not been vaccinated,’ a spokesman said.
Jordaan stalwart Café Nol was heaving with people singing along with André Hazes again, the paper noted. ‘Singing at 1.5 centimetres distance, that’s who we are,’ said owner Annemarie Grijzenhout.
The AD asked hospitality sector lobby group KHN what they had heard from their members. Chairmain Robèr Willemsen said ‘absolute excesses’ did not materialise but some owners were ‘called names or threatened’.
The fine weather prompted many to have their drinks on the outside terraces where there is no CoronaCheck control. This, said Willemsen, is probably the reason things went as smoothly as they did.
In Trouw Willemsen said his organisation had worked well with the government on the measure but ‘when a bar owner says he has no staff to carry out the checks I understand where he is coming from… The financial support measures are coming to an end but at the same time we have to help fight the virus. That is not possible,’ he said.
Roy Gooren, owner of Bar Zwart in Blitterswijck in Limburg, who will not actively carry out checks, was a case in point. ‘If people ask me about it I will, but we have no money to put someone on the door. If they tell me to shut down the place so be it,’ he told RTL.
The broadcaster probed a number of local councils and heard of only a single restaurant in Nijmegen which flaunted the rules, while a bar owner in Utrecht was fined.
The restaurant, Moeke (Mother), had announced it would not check its clientele and had put up a notice saying ’you do not have to prove yourself to Moeke’. The restaurant was closed on the mayor’s order but following a court decision the restaurant was allowed to open again on the condition punters were checked and the sign removed.
The Volkskrant went clubbing in Amsterdam and only saw happy people – ‘It’s time for freedom, love and connection!’ one clubber said. Clubs have doormen and are used to checks on entry, the paper said, which makes the rule easier to implement.
However, not all club owners are clear about the rules. ‘The KHN tells me that a 1 in 10 check is ok. And the 75% capacity is apparently not necessary either. I wouldn’t be surprised if we will have to close down again in three weeks’ time. I fear the worst,’ Bas Louwers, owner of Amsterdam club Bitterzoet, told the paper.
Louwers said he has no time for people who accuse him of discriminating against people who are not vaccinated. ‘I have no choice. Are they going to pay my rent?’
The Telegraaf honed in on the DDOS attacks on the CoronaCheck app which caused bottlenecks at bar and club entrances in some parts of the country and ‘ended Saturday night on a low’. But according to health ministry spokesman, the attacks had been foreseen and could be ‘batted off’.
‘Complete chaos, from Venlo to Groningen and from Scheveningen to Enschedé. Everyone is furious,’ Laurens Meyer, who owns fifty bars across the country, told the paper.
However, council wardens, who are charged with making sure cafes and bars are checking their customers, did not report any trouble connected with the glitch. ‘They may have been a bit more lenient perhaps,’ union boss Richard Gerrits told the paper.
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