Avoid busy places and stay 1.5 metres away from others

Please note: this message was published May 6, 2020

From Monday 11 May we can allow one another a little more freedom, while keeping coronavirus under control. But it will be more important than ever to observe the main basic rules.

So you should continue to do the following

  • Wash your hands.
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow.
  • Use paper tissues to blow your nose and discard them after use.
  • Don’t shake hands with others.
  • Stay 1.5 metres (2 arms lengths) away from other people.
  • Work at home if possible.

If you are sick

  • Stay at home if you have mild cold-like symptoms, such as a sore throat, a runny nose, sneezing, a mild cough or a fever below 38 degrees Celsius.
  • If you have a fever above 38 degrees Celsius or shortness of breath, you and anyone you live with should stay at home. If you feel better and have not had any symptoms for 24 hours, you can go outside again.

If you are over the age of 70 or have health issues

  • Take extra care. It is a good idea to stay at home as much as possible for now.

Avoid busy places and keep your distance

  • Make sure you can always stay 1.5 metres from others.
  • If this impossible, go somewhere else.

Step by step

The Dutch approach has worked well in bringing coronavirus under control. The risk has certainly not disappeared, but if we continue to follow the main rules, we can gradually allow ourselves more freedom. The government will start by relaxing restrictions at local or neighbourhood level. That will not make our streets, traffic and public transport much busier. The government will then relax restrictions at regional level and finally at national level. First small gatherings will be allowed, and later larger gatherings, so that everything remains as manageable and orderly as possible. The details will be worked out in the weeks ahead.

From 11 May the following will apply:


  • Primary schools, including special primary schools, and childcare providers will reopen on 11 May.

Sports and play

  • Children aged 12 and under will be allowed to play sports and take part in other activities together outdoors under supervision.
  • Young people aged 13 to 18 will be allowed to play sports together outdoors under supervision, but must stay 1.5 metres apart.
  • Adults can play sports outdoors from 11 May as long as they can stay 1.5 metres apart. Matches and competitions are not allowed, and nor is the use of shared changing rooms. Showers may only be taken at home.

Contact-based roles

  • Most people in contact-based roles will be allowed to perform their jobs again. This includes driving instructors, medical and paramedical professionals (dieticians, massage therapists, occupational therapists, prosthodontists, etc.), hair and beauty professionals (hairdressers, beauticians, pedicurists, etc.) and alternative medicine practitioners (acupuncturists, homeopaths, etc.).
  • They should stay 1.5 metres apart from their clients wherever possible.
  • They should see clients by appointment only and assess possible health risks beforehand together with the client.


  • Libraries will reopen to the public and take measures to ensure that library users can stay 1.5 metres apart.

Public transport

  • Only use public transport if there is no alternative. Avoid rush hours and keep as far apart as possible.
  • You are advised to wear a non-medical face mask on public transport. From 1 June this will be compulsory.

Face masks

In some situations it is impossible to stay 1.5 metres apart. It will therefore be compulsory to wear non-medical face masks on public transport from 1 June. To avoid scarcity, you should not wear face masks intended for health professionals. People in contact-based roles can eliminate many risks by discussing health issues with clients beforehand. As a result, wearing a face mask will not be necessary during appointments, though everyone is of course free to do so.

Going forward

The reason certain restrictions can be lifted from 11 May is that the sectors concerned mainly serve people who live locally. Relaxing these restrictions therefore won’t result in more people travelling by public transport. Hairdressers, opticians, pedicurists, etc. can also easily follow public health advice such as washing hands. Finally, lifting these restrictions is unlikely to lead to more people gathering in public places.

The government is well aware that there are many calls for restrictions to be relaxed in other sectors, such as the hospitality industry. This is understandable as the measures impose a heavy burden on us all and have far-reaching consequences. That is why the government wants to proceed step by step, together with businesses and organisations that have made plans for a 1.5‑metre society.

Restrictions can only be lifted if the virus remains under control. People must continue to maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from others. If the circumstances so warrant, any decision to relax measures can and must be reversed.

Expected measures from 1 June

If the virus remains under control, the following will be possible:

  • secondary schools will reopen (the details still have to be worked out);
  • cafés and restaurants may reopen outdoor seating areas as long as people can stay 1.5 metres apart;
  • cinemas, restaurants, cafés and cultural institutions (such as concert venues and theatres) will reopen, subject to certain conditions:
    • a maximum of 30 people (including staff). People must be able to stay 1.5 metres apart;
    • visitors must reserve beforehand;
    • the owner will discuss with customers beforehand whether their visit entails risks;
  • museums and heritage sites will reopen. Visitors must buy tickets beforehand, to ensure people can stay 1.5 metres apart.

Since public transport will probably become busier around 1 June, it will be more difficult to stay 1.5 metres apart. That is why everyone travelling on public transport will be required to wear a non-medical face mask.

Expected measures from 15 June

If we keep the virus under control, secondary vocational education (MBO) schools can reopen for exams and practical training. Plans are being drawn up for reopening MBO schools, institutions for higher professional education (HBO) and universities more fully at some point in the future.

Expected measures from 1 July

If we keep the virus under control, shared toilets and shower blocks at campsites and holiday parks can reopen on 1 July. The maximum number of visitors to cinemas, restaurants, cafés and cultural institutions can hopefully be increased to 100. This increase would also apply to the maximum number of participants at organised gatherings, such as church services, weddings, rehearsals and funerals.

Expected measures from 1 September

If the virus remains under control, gyms, saunas, health spas, club canteens, cannabis cafés, casinos and sex establishments will reopen. People of all ages will be allowed to take part in contact sports and indoor sports. Sports events, including professional football matches, can take place without spectators.

A decision regarding mass spectator events such as festivals and major concerts will be taken before 1 September.