Step 1: shops and outdoor seating at restaurants and cafés will partially reopen; evening curfew lifted

Please note: this news item was published on 20 April. Read more about the current approach to tackling coronavirus in the Netherlands.

More and more people are getting vaccinated. This means the number of people getting ill will start falling sharply. And the number of new hospital admissions is expected to decline. Reopening society step by step is not without risk. But the government also has to consider the interests of the economy and society at large. That’s why the government has decided to take the first, cautious step of the reopening plan on 28 April.

It’s still important that everyone keeps following the basic rules. This means washing your hands, keeping your distance, and  staying home and getting tested if you have any symptoms. It’s also important to get vaccinated as soon as you are able to do so.

Read this news item in Dutch on

First step of the reopening plan: 28 April

The coronavirus measures below will be lifted or relaxed as of 28 April. All other measures will continue to apply.

  • Curfew lifted
    The evening curfew will be lifted at 4:30 on 28 April 2021.
  • Maximum of 2 visitors at home
    The advice for receiving visitors at home is changing. You are advised to receive no more than 2 visitors a day at home, and visit no more than 1 other household per day. You should still limit the number of different contacts you have with other people each week. Always wash your hands when you arrive and stay 1.5 metres apart at all times.
  • Outdoor seating areas at restaurants and cafés to partially reopen
    Outdoor seating areas at restaurants and cafés may be open from 12:00 to 18:00, under certain conditions. Each establishment may have a maximum of 50 guests. Each guest must be assigned a seat. Self-service is not allowed. No more than 2 people may be seated at a table, sitting 1.5 metres apart. However, this limit does not apply if everyone at the table is part of the same household or if the party includes children under 13. Visitors can go indoors only to pay, use the cloakroom or go to the toilet. Face masks must be worn indoors. 

    These conditions will be relaxed further in the next steps of the reopening plan.
  • Shops and markets to reopen
    All shops may admit customers without an appointment. Certain conditions still apply, such as a limit on the number of shoppers allowed inside at the same time. It’s still important to avoid busy places, so go to the shops at quiet times, such as early in the morning. And go alone if possible. Shops selling non-essential goods, such as clothes shops, can be open between 6:00 and 20:00. Supermarkets and other shops selling essential goods may operate in accordance with their usual opening hours. Wearing a face mask in shops is still compulsory.

    Non-food articles, like clothing and cosmetics, may again be sold at general markets.
  • In-person classes in higher education: 1 day a week
    As of Monday 26 April, students at universities and HBO institutions will again be able to attend classes at their educational institution. This will be limited to about 1 day a week and certain conditions will apply, such as staying 1.5 metres apart from others. Self-test kits will be available for students and staff as of May.
  • Sitting theory tests
    People can again sit theory tests for a driving licence, boat licence or pilot licence.
  • Funerals
    The maximum number of people who may attend a funeral will be increased to 100.

Next steps of the reopening plan

The second step of the reopening plan will not be taken until at least 11 May. This step will open up more opportunities for outdoor venues, such as zoos and amusement parks. Under certain conditions, it will be possible again to participate in indoor sports, and there will be more scope for outdoor sports.

On 3 May the government will decide whether the numbers allow us to take the second step. More information will also be announced at that time about the government's travel advice.