Dutch PM Mark Rutte’s press conference yesterday tempered expectations- and extended the lockdown past King’s Day
Translated by Thomas Ansell
As has been widely trailed in the last few days, Dutch PM Mark Rutte did not announce any loosening of the Coronavirus rules in his press conference held last night, however it was announced that non-school childcare may re-open. It had been expected that Rutte would announce the opening up of pub and restaurant terraces and shops for April 21, but the Dutch PM confirmed that Coronavirus infections rates remain too high to allow that. Instead, a further decision will be taken on April 20 for any changes to come into effect from April 28, reports the Omrop Fryslân.
Current regulations, including the 22:00-04:30 curfew will remain in place until at least the end of this month. King’s Day, traditionally held on April 27, will therefore be celebrated in a similar manner to last year.
“It is true that last week we hoped to be able to take the first steps from April 21, but we must be responsible with this. Therefore it is unfortunate that that date leaked, it is still too early, and we will look again each week”, said Rutte.
Minister Hugo De Jonge (CDA) of Health presented a rough ‘opening plan’ with five steps to be taken between now and the summer. The first step will be taken once hospital admission from the current ‘third wave’ level off, and will likely include the removal of the curfew, a review of the ‘group of two’ rule, and the opening of terraces and shops with some restrictions. Higher education is also at the top of the agenda, with universities able to partially re-open from step one.
Step two could include the opening of places such as amusement parks, sports centres, and swimming pools. “This would be with a 1.5-metre distance regulation, and with a maximum number of people allowed. And only if the situation in hospitals is less severe”, said De Jonge.