Schiphol staff angry at decision to keep non-essential airport shops open

Photo: Brandon Hartley
Photo: Brandon Hartley

Shop staff at Schiphol airport are reported to be angry and distressed at being exempted from the lockdown rules that came into force on Sunday morning.

All stores in the departures area beyond security have been allowed to stay open even though other non-essential shops have been ordered to close until January 14.

NH Nieuws quoted one anonymous retail worker who said staff were worried about the risk of infection but unable to report their concerns to their employers because they feared reprisals.

‘Our employer says we should be glad we still have our jobs,’ the source said. ‘There is a culture of anxiety here. If they learn that we have contacted the media in our despair, we risk being fired.’

The Animal Rights Party (PvdD) has called for all non-essential shops at the airport to be closed, in line with the rest of the country. MP Christine Teunissen said: ‘There are two different sets of rules being applied, and I don’t understand it.

‘Schiphol clearly believes making money is more important than showing solidarity with the rest of the Netherlands. I think it is indefensible. The cabinet needs to make the situation clear.’

A spokesman for the airport said keeping the shops open had no impact on the spread of the virus because passengers’ main reason for being in the airport was to travel.

‘It is not the case that the shops beyond security at Schiphol make any difference to the number of people present or limits the movement of people, which is the main focus of the cabinet’s coronavirus policies.’

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