Saturday 19 September 2020

Cafes told to register their customers, as owners complain of double standards

Cafes are expanding their terraces everywhere. Photo:

From this week, cafe and restaurant goers in the Netherlands will be asked to provide their contact details so they can be traced in case of a coronavirus outbreak.

The measure was announced by prime minister Mark Rutte at last week’s press conference, and although it will not be compulsory to comply, cafe owners will be able to turn away customers who refuse.

Meanwhile, the hospitality sector is still waiting for more details from the government about how the scheme should work and what the privacy implications are, broadcaster RTL Nieuws reported on Monday.

Cafes and restaurants which are linked to a coronavirus cluster also face two weeks compulsory closure.

At the same time, cafe and restaurant owners say they are being singled out by the government, while social distancing measures are being flouted by people flocking to beaches and parks to escape the heat.

On Saturday evening, cafes on the Weesperzijde in Amsterdam were ordered to remove tables and chairs from the banks of the river Amstel, while just a few metres away, hundreds of people were sitting in parks and on the water’s edge, without keeping to social distancing rules.

‘We are doing our best to follow the rules… but look at what is happening in the city,’ one cafe owner told the Parool. ‘This is double standards.’


Meanwhile, in Bergen op Zoom in Noord-Brabant, the mayor is considering introducing compulsory face masks because of a surge in coronavirus cases.

The total number of new infections in the town topped a ‘shocking’ 104 last week, Frank Petter told television show Hart van Nederland.

‘Supermarkets are being more and more lax about the rules,’ he said. In particular, he said, supermarket managers have been asked to start disinfecting trolleys again, and to ensure social distancing.

Masks have been made compulsory in busy parts of Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

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