Friday 07 August 2020

Bar at centre of coronavirus outbreak openly defied rules in Facebook post

De Kleine Beurs Photo: Google Maps

The owners of a bar at the centre of a local outbreak of coronavirus announced a month ago they was turning a blind eye to social distancing measures because they were spoiling the atmosphere.

In a now-deleted Facebook post from June, the owners of De Kleine Beurs in Hillegom wrote that the virus appeared to be dormant and customers would not be reprimanded for sitting close together, shaking hands or hugging. ‘We know what we are doing,’ they said.

In the last week 39 confirmed cases of corona have been traced to the bar – 31 customers and eight indirect contacts.

Boy Hardeman told the AD this week that ‘The situation could not be worse.’ De Kleine Beurs is now shut. Local public health officials think the transmissions took place on July 11 and are ordering anyone who was in the bar that day to stay home.

The post from June

Hardeman and his wife, Wanda, said they were mystified as to how their café had become the hub of a local coronavirus outbreak. ‘There was nothing special. No party or large gathering. Just an evening like all the others since we reopened on June 1.’

More than a week after bars and restaurants were allowed to reopen in the Netherlands, the bar posted on their now-deleted Facebook page that few people were adhering to the measures and that the social distance detracted from the atmosphere at the bar.

‘For many people the café is traditionally the one place where they don’t have to stick to all the rules,’ they wrote.

Shortly before deleting their Facebook page, the owners posted that a customer at the bar on July 11 had probably been infected and anyone who was there at the same time should get into contact with the local public health authorities.

‘On average, 13.7% of people who have contact with an infected person become infected with the virus,’ a GGD spokesperson said.

Infections rates have been on the rise again as the country has come out of its so-called intelligent lockdown. South Holland, where the bar is located, has seen the bulk of the new transmissions. Hillegom will decide after the weekend if it will have to lockdown in response.

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