Restaurants, night shops and bars all must close at 01:30 on Friday and Saturday evenings
Mayor Koen Schuiling of Groningen is very satisfied with the effect of the latest measures put forward in the city to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. The measures consist of an early closure for restaurants, night shops and bars in the city center: all had to close at 01:30 from last weekend.
“I am very satisfied, also with the attitude of business owners and their guests. Around half past one it quickly became less crowded. The entrepreneurs have done their best, “says Schuiling Monday morning in an interview with BNR Newsradio, reported by the GIC.
During that interview, the mayor explained why Groningen chose to close hospitality outlets and not, just like Amsterdam and Rotterdam, require face masks.
According to Schuiling, the municipality and Safety Region of Groningen noted that it was getting busier in entertainment centers, and Groningen has had a policy since March that prevention is the best strategy against the Coronavirus- not that any residents have noticed. In addition, the new outbreak in Groningen seems to be coming from outside visitors. For example, recent infections in Groningen could be traced to a café with a localised outbreak in Hillegom (Province of Zuid-Holland).
According to the mayor, the municipality was concerned about people gathering in both the ‘party streets’, and also around places that sell Nitrous Oxide balloons. Mayor Schuiling said: “nitrous oxide sales are still allowed in this country, unfortunately”.
“These accumulations can prevent people that want to adhere to the one and a half meter guideline from doing so”, he added.
When asked why Groningen is not going to make face masks compulsory, the mayor replied that, in his opinion, those caps have too little effect. “I am a bit annoyed that we are narrowing the discussion here to the question whether we should wear mouth masks. Those masks only have a symbolic effect according to the experts. In our opinion, it is much better to provide precise prevention measures so that we can guarantee the 1.5 meter guideline. And you must ensure that no large groups of people are created.”
At the moment, early closure is only being enforced on Friday and Saturday nights, though that could change if over-crowding occurs on another evening, says the Mayor.