Tuesday 05 July 2022

Dance teacher, holiday firms bring in vaccination requirement

Photo: DutchNews.nl

Although no Dutch employers have yet demanded staff be vaccinated and vaccination is not a legal requirement, there are signs that of movement in that direction, Dutch media reported on Friday.

For example, a dance teacher from Utrecht says he has had death threats after imposing a vaccination requirement on his pupils and has now involved the police because of the intimidation.

Peter Vlug says he has lost four pupils after refusing to teach people salsa who are not vaccinated. He says he has taken the decision after researching the testing process and concluding that it is not watertight.

‘I was shocked by how unreliable they are,’ he told broadcaster NOS. ‘So I could not continue to accept them.’

Three holiday companies in the Netherlands have also decided not to accept bookings from people who are not vaccinated, the Volkskrant reported on Friday.

‘Our group leaders and participants think it is important everyone is vaccinated,’ said Pieter Melieste, from camping specialist ACSI, which organizes camping holidays throughout Europe for Dutch and German holidaymakers.

‘If we had not done this, we would have had more cancellations. And then you don’t really have a choice,’ he said.

EU rules

The coronavirus rules operating in other countries are an added factor. ‘Almost all our group trips go through Germany, so we could not organise them without requiring people to be vaccinated,’ said Arjan Koster, director of holiday company Oad. Germany has introduced a quarantine requirement for people who are not vaccinated.

The Dutch travel agents association ANVR sys it has no problems with the move and expects more firms to follow suit. ‘An infection during a trip is a problem,’ chairman Frank Oostdam said.

A health ministry spokesman said that the department does not approve of companies drawing up their own coronavirus policies but that there are no plans to stop them doing so.

It is, however, unclear if such a ban is legally sound, the paper said.

Law

The NRC has consulted labour law experts about the possibility of employers demanding staff are vaccinated in the Netherlands.

‘Employers are required to ensure there is a safe working environment but there are other ways,’ said labour law specialist Suzanne Meijers. ‘For example, you can make sure there is proper ventilation and that workers who have not been vaccinated can respect the 1.5 metres rule.’

Nor can employers require regular testing or do they have the right to know how a worker tests because of privacy legislation, she said.

Coercion

Martin Buijsen, a professor of health law at Erasmus University, said he does not expect that people who are not vaccinated will be denied access to events or restaurants in the Netherlands because it would be discrimination.

‘But of course, having to take a test before being allowed in somewhere is also a form of coercion,’ he said.

Research by the public health institute RIVM indicates 90% of the Dutch aim to become vaccinated, and around 66% of adults already are fully protected.

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