The Mayor also said that some reports of people breaking the rules had been made in error
Translated by Thomas Ansell
In the last week and a half, more than 100 reports have been made of people breaking the regulations brought in to try and dampen the spread of the Coronavirus, reports the Omrop Fryslân. The ‘Meldpunt Overlast‘ is a service for residents in the Gemeente Leeuwarden, where they can report any gatherings or nuisances.
“It’s good that we’re receiving reports”, said Buma, “because then we can send Council Officers to investigate.” Buma opened the report-point on March 27: “We didn’t know whether people would actually use it, but it has been working well. Many of the reports are about problems that we recognise; such as groups of young people congregating in skate-parks, outside gyms, or football pitches. We know that those are the ‘risk’ locations”, he said.
But not all reports have been made accurately: especially reports about cafe’s and hair salons being open (they were ordered closed as part of the regulations). “People are often, for example, refurbishing or re-painting their businesses and lots of entrepreneurs are choosing to do this at the moment. So, you might see people in a business, but that’s not breaking the regulations”, said Buma.
When Council Officers have found people breaking the rules, they have been instructed not to write out a fine in the first instance: “In principle, we will always speak to someone who is breaking the rules first, and up until now that is working well. If too many people break the rules, though, we will have to crack down”, said Buma.
Mayor Buma is also the Chair of the ‘Veiligheidsregio Fryslân’ (Safety Region Friesland), and along with the Chairs of the various other Safety Regions this week agreed that in the coming weekend some streets in cities could be shut off. The group also agreed that in some cases parks could be closed, but Buma is not especially fond of the idea.
Since the coming weekend is Easter Weekend, it is likely to be busier that usual. “We must watch how it goes, and if anywhere gets too busy then we will have to shut it immediately”, said Buma.
Overall, though, the Mayor thinks that Friesland is responding well to the crisis. “People in Friesland have held to the rules well, and that’s why we haven’t had to crack down on anything. If that’s the case again this coming weekend, then we have nothing to worry about”, he said. Buma added that the coming weekend is likely to be rainy, which will dampen numbers of people outside anyway.