Most sectors have welcomed the government’s announcement that most coronavirus measures will be lifted by February 25,.
Frank Oostdam, director of travel trade organisation ANVR, said operators were pleased that people will be able to travel to destinations outside the EU again ‘at last’, told the AD.
However, he said many people would be put off by the need to produce a negative test before coming home. The ANVR has ‘urgently requested’ health minister Ernst Kuipers to drop the requirement.
Events and culture
Events organisers said they were glad events can take place again but called the 1G testing system ‘disproportional’. ‘It is not in line with our policy that events are for everyone,’ ID&T Group spokesperson Rosanne Janmaat said.
According to the organisers testing visitors at indoor events of more than 500 people will be ‘an enormously high threshold’.
Amusement parks have said they are particularly happy to say goodbye to the 1.5 social distancing rule, as have cinemas and theatres.
Community wardens (BOAs), who have been tasked with enforcing coronavirus rules for the last two years, said they were happy to see the 1.5m distance rule and face masks disappearing.
BOA union official Richard Gerrits said the wardens were also relieved they would not have to police the upcoming carnaval celebrations.
Hospital staff, meanwhile, are ‘nervous’ about what will come next. ‘It’s not that we think we’ll have to care for more seriously ill Covid patients but the lack of staff,’ said a spokesman for the association for nursing and care staff V&VN.
‘Hospital workers with children will be affected most because of the obligation to stay at home if their children get the virus, or they themselves.’
Virologist and member of the Outbreak Management Team, Marion Koopmans sounded a note of caution on behalf of people, who are vulnerable because of auto-immune diseases or old age. ‘They will really have to take care for some time to come,’ she said. ‘As a virologist I think I would rather see things progress more slowly.’
Face masks will still be required on public transport and airports but transport operators are angry they have not been scrapped. ‘They are not necessary anywhere else, why are they in trains and buses? We cannot explain this to travellers,’ Dutch rail chief Marjan Rintel said.
Piet Fortuin, chair of the CNV union, said a majority of its 3,000 members had wanted the measures lifted earlier.
One of the main changes will be a gradual return to the office, which is ‘good news for many workers who like to congregate around the coffee machine’, he said. ‘Many of our members are fed up with being at home and want to have a say in where they work again.’
Student union LSVb said it was relieved the limit of 75 students to a lecture hall has been dropped, along with the requirement to wear face masks from the end of the month. ‘Lots of students were still taking classes online. It’s good news this will end,’ chair Ama Boahene said.
The mayors represented in the safety council said they welcomed the extension of late night opening times until 1am, but said a uniform cut-off time could lead to big gatherings of people in the streets. They also said clubs and night cafes should be allowed to be open until later.
The relaxation of the measures has also increased support for the government’s coronavirus policy. Some 51% now support the policy compared to 45% last month, a survey by I&O Research showed.
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