The new national measures ensure that all pubs, bars, and restaurants must close at 22:00
Aside from the new horeca-based measures, an audience is no longer allowed for professional or amateur sports competitions. The number of house guests permitted has been brought down to three, as well. The new measures were announced at a press conference last night held by PM Mark Rutte and Deputy PM Hugo de Jonge- and will be reviewed after 3 weeks.
Other new rules include a limit of thirty people at any event held indoors, a maximum of fourty people at an outdoor event, and only four people may meet up at a bar, café, or restaurant (more if they are from the same household). At sports clubs, all canteens and bars must be kept closed, and all pubs, bars, and restaurants may only admit people up until 21:00 (and then close at 22:00).
The conference was originally slated for Tuesday, but was brought forward due to an acute spike in Coronavirus infections. According to Rutte, large cities are now moving towards the third and most serious risk level. “However, we are in danger of running after viruses across the country. That is why we are now continuing with national measures to get out of the peak again”, says Rutte.
De Jonge said: “In general we are using our common sense at sports clubs, at schools and in public transport. Sometimes things go wrong: people partying and people with complaints who do not stay at home. We see that back in the figures. It’s not good enough now. That’s a pity for everyone. The virus is on a dangerous advance. More than 100,000 people are currently contagious.”
The basic rules remain in force: 1.5 meter social distancing, and self-isolation in case of any symptoms.
The in-person event limit can be changed by the Safety Region: people are also allowed to come together in classrooms, churches and during protests. The maximum does not apply to youth associations (<18).
All sports clubs, both amateur and professional, will have to do without an audience in the coming weeks. PM Rutte explained that sport causes too many travel movements for players, officials and visitors.
Working from home unless there really is no other option
The cabinet wants everyone to work from home, unless there really is no other option. “In many places it has simply become too busy at work again,” says Rutte. If any infection does occur on the shop floor, that location can even be closed for fourteen days.
Supermarkets must again pay more attention to the 1.5 meter regulation. There will be shopping hours put in place for vulnerable groups. In places where social distancing can’t be upheld effectively, there will be a registration requirement, such as in restaurants and cafés, and at the hairdressers.
Advice about masks
For the time being, there is no mandatory face-mask requirement. The cabinet has asked the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) for advice. However, there is now the advice in the three major cities to wear masks in supermarkets, for example.
If the numbers don’t drop, then intelligent lockdown again
Prime Minister Rutte hopes that the measures will lead to results in ten to fourteen days. Minister De Jonge has announced that the measures will only apply for three weeks. “If the number of infections decreases, there is room for regional customisation. If the numbers do not fall, we must move closer to the intelligent lockdown as we used earlier this year.” In that case all restaurants, bars and cultural places might be shut down completely.
Today almost 3,000 infections and 660 patients in hospital
The RIVM announced on Monday that 2,914 infections had been added in 24 hours. Six patients have died. The number of hospital admissions increased by 38. According to hospital director Ernst Kuipers (Erasmus MC Rotterdam), there are now about 660 corona patients in the hospital, 142 of which are in the ICU. This weekend the number had increased to 1,000 hospital admissions, though at the first peak in the spring, that number was 4,000. “The numbers of patients in the hospital are now higher than when a lockdown was announced in March,” says Kuipers, who also indicated that normal care will then have to be scaled down.
Minister De Jonge expects that even with the new measures the number of occupied IC beds will have risen to 400 by mid-October. The reproduction number is now 1.3, which means that every hundred infected people now cause about 130 new infections.