Saturday 06 June 2020

Summer sun draws the crowds but it was too busy in places, officials say

Photo: Anne Lakeman

With the temperature topping 25 degrees at the De Bilt weather station near Utrecht, Thursday was the first official summers’ day of the year.

But the hot, sunny weather led to traffic jams on the way to the coast, road closures and overcrowded parks in some places, officials say.

Hubert Bruls, chairman of the regional safety board association, told broadcaster NOS it has been too busy in some areas, forcing police and wardens to intervene. The Somerlust park on the Amstel river in Amsterdam, Utrecht, Soest and Noorderplantsoen in Groningen were among the places where officials took action.

In Giethoorn, normally the preserve of particularly Chinese tourists, the waterways were so busy that wardens were brought in to manage the crowds, NOS said.

‘If this is what it will be like in the summer, then we are going to face a summer of restrictions,’ Bruls said. Without action it will be impossible to maintain social distancing, he said.

Seaside

In particular, Dutch coastal resorts were forced to take measures to stop day trippers flocking to the seaside. In Noord-Holland, roads to the beaches at Bloemendaal, Heemskerk, Wijk aan Zee, IJmuiden, Castricum and Zandvoort were closed for a time and local officials have urged people to stay home.

In Vlissingen, the waterfront boulevard was closed to cars in an effort to ease pressure, and several roads in Zeeland were blocked by heavy traffic, the ANWB motoring organisation said.

In Limburg, local authorities close to the border urged German visitors to stay away. Ascension Day is traditionally a day when Germans visit the outlet centre in Roermond en masse.

Hospital admissions

Meanwhile the official coronavirus death toll in the Netherlands rose by 27 to 5,775 and a further 13 people were admitted to hospital. This is the lowest number since March 12.

The number of people in intensive care also continues to decline, falling to 255 on Thursday, the acute care association said.

‘If this continues, we can expect to have 175 people in an ICU by next Monday, two weeks after the first restrictions were lifted,’ spokesman Ernst Kuiper said.

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