Monday 19 April 2021

Open cafe terraces and zoos to spread the crowds, Amsterdam’s mayor says

Cafe terraces in Marken remain shut. Photo: DutchNews.nl

Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema has renewed her call to the government to reopen outside spaces such as zoos, botanical gardens and café terraces.

Halsema told television talk show Beau that allowing them to reopen in an organised way would lead to less chaos in parks, which have been crowded with people during the recent sunny weather.

Last week the city’s Vondelpark was shut for several days, and in one case police moved in to send everyone home because social distancing rules were being ignored.

‘We are talking about such large numbers that you cannot expect the council, police and wardens to keep order,’ she said. ‘People are tired, impatient and they want things,’ the mayor told the programme.

There is, she said, less support in society at large and among local government for the coalition’s approach, and care had to be taken to make sure the situation does not become chaotic.

Closing cafes to reduce the pressure of numbers has been overtaken by events, she said. ‘The pressure is there, and if you open the terraces, it can be controlled.’

Last week, Bart Siemerik, head of the Keukenhof tulip gardens, made similar comments during a tv talk show. Why, he asked, was his park, which had organized time slots and measures to spread visitors in place, closed to the public while city parks all over the country were packed with people having impromptu parties?

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