Netherlands Likely to Say Goodbye to Masks and Social Distancing by September
Everyone to Be Fully Vaccinated in 3 Months - Minister
The Dutch government is confident that, when the new academic year starts in September, current safety measures around COVID-19, such as wearing a mask and keeping a distance of 1.5m will be a thing of the past. The minister of health, Hugo de Jonge, said in an interview over the weekend that this is a "realistic" scenario.
In addition, it is foreseen that every adult in the Netherlands who wants to be will be fully vaccinated by then, including international students. The government previously predicted that everyone who wants to be vaccinated will get their first shot by at least 1 July. This had to be slightly adjusted to mid-July as delivery of some vaccines was delayed.
By this week, almost 10 million vaccinations have been administered in the Netherlands and there has been a steady decline of new COVID cases and hospitalisation since the government's vaccination programme really started picking up steam from mid-May onwards.
Meanwhile, another round of corona restrictions will be relaxed in the Netherlands from 5 June. This includes the opening of museums, historic buildings, cinemas and theatres. Adults may once again take part in sports in groups of up to 50 people without having to keep 1.5 metres apart, if the sport in question requires people to be closer. That means yoga classes can restart.
Restaurants and cafes can open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., as long as everyone is assigned a table and there are no more than 50 guests in each space – i.e. indoors and outdoors. A maximum of four people is allowed per table seated 1.5 metres apart, excluding the under 13s.
De Jonge warned people to stay alert in the meantime and continue adhering to the basic rules, including those who have been vaccinated:
- Wash your hands.
- Keep your distance.
- Get tested and stay at home if you have any symptoms.
by James Wittenborg