Though Coronavirus figures in Friesland are no longer looking as worrying, the head of the Safety Region, Sybrand Buma, says that now is not the time to lighten regulations
Translated by Thomas Ansell
As reported by the Omrop Fryslân, the Dutch PM Mark Rutte will hold another update press conference next week, however if Coronavirus figures in the Netherlands continue to rise it is likely that further, stronger, regulations will be announced. A partial lock-down was announced two weeks ago, and on Thursday Minister Hugo de Jonge suggested that these regulations could persist until December.
Sybrand Buma is both the head of the Safety Region in Friesland, and also the Mayor of Leeuwarden. He said that Minister de Jonge’s announcement came as a bit of a shock to lots of people to the Omrop Fryslân, finding a slightly more optimistic tinge to the news: “there’s no talk of a full lockdown, where there was before. But it’s now clear that this crisis is really worry, and that the regulations will have to endure longer than we had wanted.”
Buma added that all of the heads of the Safety Regions met on Tuesday to agree to stronger enforcement of existing rules. According to Buma, that means focussing extra on illegal parties and group meetings. Advice will be given to enforcement officers to hand out more fines, and not simply give warnings.
Last weekend, in Hilversum (near Utrecht), an illegal 300 person party was broken up by enforcement officers, but Buma says that the rules haven’t been broken in Friesland in that way: “but I’m under no illusions that there are places with illegal gatherings. Where we are notified, we shall intervene”, he said.
When asked if the current regulations could be loosened again after December, Buma was unable to answer directly. “It’s very difficult to say. We know that if we relax everything, we run the risk of a third wave of infections”, said Buma. The lack of an available vaccine means that the Mayor doesn’t see any change before the end of this year: “the question of how we do Christmas isn’t really important at the moment. As long as there is no vaccine, we will have to limit our lives. There will come a time when the vaccine will be wide-spread, and we can pick up our lives again. But it will take a long time, and we’re in the middle of it now.”