Saturday 15 August 2020

Zeeland closed to overnight visitors to relieve services

Zoutelande in Zeeland. Photo: Pixabay

Zeeland’s local safety board Veiligheidsregio is closing the province to tourists at 12 noon on Monday to relieve pressure on local health services, Trouw reports.

The move to ban overnight stays has led to a swathe of cancellations for the many hotels and guest houses in what is a popular holiday destination in the Netherlands. Many in the sector are worried for the future of their businesses, but the decision was greeted with relief in some quarters as well.

Monica de Vast, regional manager of tourism trade organisation Recron, told the paper the information coming from the Veiligheidsregio in the past week had been ‘confusing’.

‘It may sound strange but most small businesses are glad the decision has finally been made. After the press conference the prime minister and minister Grapperhaus called on people not to come to Zeeland but there was no official ban. Now the situation is clear at least.’

De Vast said the decision will have a big financial impact because a large part of the economy in Zeeland is based on tourism.

Lianne Riemens, owner of a mini campsite in Grijpskerke, said she would be unable to open on April 1 but understood the need for the measure. “If I fall ill I want there to be room for me,’ she told the paper.

Not everyone is happy about the ban. An Amsterdam family wanting to spend time in their holiday home in Zeeland was told to leave the province and is considering contesting the ban in court. The house, is officially classed as a second home and is used as a place of work, home owner Eber Kemeling told the Parool.

Kemeling, who works as an advisor, also slammed the attitude of some of his neighbours. ‘Someone in the neighbourhood Whatsapp group literally said ‘our own people first’. And people came to our door to tell us to leave. My wife was very upset about that and that was the main reason we left,’ he told the paper.

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