Wednesday 23 September 2020

Dutch justice minister says sorry after wedding guests break 1.5 metre rule

Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl

Justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus has been forced to apologise after failing to ensure both he and guests at his recent wedding kept the required 1.5 metre social distance from each other.

Grapperhuis married Elsevier journalist Elizabeth Wytzes at Bloemendaal town hall on Saturday and photos have been circulating showing the group standing close together, posing for photos on the steps.

This prompted an apology from the minister on Twitter in which he initially tried to garner sympathy by saying that he had postponed the event because of corona limitations and had settled for an ‘intimate party’.

He then admitted that ‘despite all the measures taken there were moments, unfortunately, when the 1.5 metre distance wasn’t respected. ‘I regret this. A minister should always give a good example,’ Grapperhuis said.

Junior justice minister Ankie Broekers-Knol, who officiated at the wedding, was also part of the photo session.

Grapperhaus was immediately called out on social media, with many reminding him of his harsh words to ‘anti-social youngsters’ who, by not keeping to the rules, had endangered family and friends.

Others pointed out that thousands of people had been presented with ‘fat fines’ for the same offence. Some called for his resignation while others said they understood and said photos can be deceptive.

Grapperhaus is like anyone else who breaks the rules, marketing magazine Adformatie said. ‘While we think everyone deserves the same punishment we invariably thinks our own behaviour is excusable.’

Last week king Willem Alexander and queen Máxima apologised for not keeping their distance from a restaurant owner during their Greek holiday after a photograph was leaked to the press.

Ireland’s EU trade commission Phil Hogan resigned on Wednesday after attending a golf dinner that breached Ireland’s coronavirus restrictions.

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