Wednesday 28 July 2021

Coronavirus in the Netherlands: what you need to know (June 18)


Over five million people in the Netherlands are fully vaccinated and four million people have had their first dose – enough, the government has decided – to relax most of the coronavirus measures currently in place from June 26. Here is what you need to know:

Face masks
Face masks will no longer be required in shops and other busy places but will still be mandatory on public transport and in airports, and in secondary schools – until the summer holidays.

Home working
People who are working at home can go to the office for no more than 50% of their working time, as long as social distancing can be observed, including in the lifts and canteen. People should travel outside rush hour as much as possible.

Socialising and culture
No limits on group sizes in private homes or outdoors as long as people can keep 1.5 metres apart.

Bars, restaurants, cafes, cinemas, concert halls and everywhere with fixed seating can reopen with 1.5 metre distancing.

Museums and shops, and other locations where people are on the move, can admit one visitor per five square metres.

However, if they opt to use the ‘test for entry’ system – whereby visitors show a QR code that proves they have either been vaccinated, had a negative test or recently recovered from coronavirus – then the 1.5 metre rule can be ditched as well.

Museums, bars, cinemas and churches are also able to take part in the ‘test for entry’ scheme.

Alcohol sales are no longer banned after 10pm

Events which require a permit can restart from June 30.

Amateur competitions can resume, as long as social distancing is kept to off the field.

People travelling abroad in July and August can have a free coronavirus test if they have not been fully vaccinated and are required to show a negative test at their destination.

Holidaymakers are also being asked to voluntarily take a test on their return to the Netherlands – a self-test, which will be free for those without symptoms – and a PCR test at a health board testing centre if they have them.

School pupils returning from a holiday to celebrate the end of their exams are also being asked to take a test, following a spate of infections. That can be done at a health board centre from Monday.

The European digital coronavirus certificate should be a reality by July 1 and will allow people to travel between EU countries more freely. However, as the Netherlands is still technically an ‘amber’ country, some countries may impose their own restrictions on people from NL.

The future
Ministers will decide on August 13, if the 1.5 metre rule can be ditched safely and if secondary schools can reopen without a face mask requirement.

Ministers will also give regular updates in the intervening period if necessary.

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