Thursday 19 May 2022

Coronavirus in the Netherlands: what you need to know – October 14

Masks are compulsory at Rotterdam’s hbo college. Photo Marco de Swart ANP

Some 7.4 million people watched prime minister Mark Rutte outline the new measures the government is taking in an effort to contain the spread of coronavirus.

The new rules come into effect on Wednesday evening at 10pm, and will be assessed after two weeks, although they are likely to be in operation for at least four. Here is what you need to know:

Daily life:

  • You may have no more than three visitors to your home in a 24 hour period, excluding children under the age of 13
  • Group sizes in public places and spaces should be no more than four, from mixed households
  • Working from home is to become the norm again, and officials are talking to unions and employers to make sure this is made possible

Hospitality sector

  • Cafes, bars and restaurants in the Netherlands are to be shut for at least four weeks, but they may open for takeaways
  • Hotels may continue to serve food their guests and cafes may remain open past airport security gates
  • Cannabis cafes will also be closed, but open for takeaway up to 8pm.
  • It will be an offence to use or carry alcohol in public places between 8pm and 7am. The government had said carrying and using soft drugs would also be an offence, but later backtracked, saying this would conflict with policy

Face masks

  • The government also plans to make face masks compulsory in all indoor public spaces, but that still needs to be worked out legally
  • In the meantime, people are ‘strongly advised’ to wear them in shops, museums, government offices, theatres and cinemas


  • Schools will remain open because ‘they are too important to close,’ Rutte said at his press conference
  • Schools will be allowed to close if there are too many infections – as has happened in Amsterdam and Bladel
  • The recommendation that face masks be worn outside lessons is also being extended to universities and colleges, and they will become compulsory once the legislation is in order


  • Gyms and swimming pools remain open
  • Team sports for adults in groups of more than four are also being halted and junior sports competitions are also being paused to stop people having to travel to away matches
  • Training will continue for youth players, but canteens and changing rooms remain closed
  • The professional football competitions will continue, but without supporters.
  • Athletes who compete internationally will be able to continue training at specific sites


  • Shops apart from food stores must close at 8pm and officials are holding urgent talks with retail organisations to make sure the hygiene rules are properly followed and that shopper numbers are limited.
  • No alcohol, or soft drugs, are to be sold after 8pm
  • Shops which break the rules will be closed down

Museums and events

  • All events for over 30 people have been cancelled
  • Cinemas and theatres, and all indoor seating areas will be restricted to 30 ticketholders, regardless of their size
  • Visits to museums are unchanged. Tickets must be bought in advance to ensure a spread of visitor numbers
  • The wearing of face masks is strongly recommended, and will become compulsory once the legalities have been sorted out


  • You should travel as little as possible and if you go away, stay at your holiday address as much as possible
  • For travel abroad, see advice issued by the Dutch foreign affairs ministry. Most European countries are now at least orange, which means all but essential travel should be avoided
  • All Belgium and France were added to the orange list on Tuesday
  • If you arrive in the Netherlands back from an orange country, you should go into quarantine for 10 days

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