Netherlands to take big step in relaxing measures: almost everything allowed with 1.5-metre distancing

The vaccination drive in the Netherlands has picked up speed. Well over 13 million vaccine doses have been administered. Almost 5 million people have now been fully vaccinated and another 4 million have received their first dose. From tomorrow, 18-year-olds will also be able to make an appointment. This means that by mid-July everyone who wants to be vaccinated will have had their first dose, and in many cases their second too.

This is reflected in the number of new infections and the number of people being admitted to hospital with COVID-19, which are now both falling sharply.

Most restrictions are therefore no longer necessary. That is why the government has decided that step 4 of the reopening plan can be taken and that more restrictions than planned can be relaxed. From 26 June, all establishments can open their doors, but it is important the 1.5-metre distancing rule remains the norm everywhere. In situations where it is impossible for everyone to stay 1.5 metres apart, for example on public transport, at secondary schools and at festivals and other events, face masks must be worn or a coronavirus entry pass must be shown.

Basic rules must still be followed

Although the current developments are good news, the virus is still here. It is unpredictable and new variants continue to emerge. So we must be careful and stay alert. This includes following the basic rules. 

  • Good hygiene remains important. Wash your hands regularly. Cough and sneeze into your elbow.
  • If you develop symptoms, stay at home and get tested as soon as possible. 

Some people can’t get vaccinated for health reasons, and others are still waiting for their second (or even first) vaccination. You should still be careful and give others space, especially where it is busy. Staying 1.5 metres apart is still the best thing you can do stop the virus spreading.

Step 4 of the reopening plan: from 26 June

  • Restrictions on number of visitors at home and group size lifted

From 26 June there will no longer be a restriction on the number of visitors people can receive at home. The same applies to the number of people who can form a group, for example in a park or restaurant. Currently, the maximum group size is 4. This rule will no longer apply. However, it is still important to stay 1.5 metres apart when you have visitors or meet up with other people.

  • Face mask requirement dropped in most situations

The requirement to wear a face mask will no longer apply in most situations. It will continue to apply only in situations where staying 1.5 apart is impossible. For example on public transport, on aeroplanes and other forms of passenger transport, at stations and airports, and in secondary schools.

  • More scope for working at the office

The recommendation to work from home unless this is not possible will change. From 26 June employees who currently work from home can, in consultation with their employer, work up to half of their hours at the office. People must stay 1.5 metres apart in offices at all times, including in lifts and cafeterias. The government is calling on people to travel to work outside peak hours as far as possible.

  • All locations open and all events permitted with 1.5-metre distancing subject to conditions

From 26 June restrictions on opening hours will be lifted. Certain conditions still apply at indoor and outdoor locations. At locations where people are seated, they must be given assigned seats 1.5 metres apart. This means that in theatres, for example, not all seats can be used and that in restaurants tables and chairs must be positioned a safe distance apart. Registration and a health check are mandatory. At locations where people move around, like shops and museums, the maximum capacity is 1 person per 5 square metres. If a coronavirus entry pass system is used, people do not have to stay 1.5 metres apart and locations may open at full capacity.

From 26 June, all events held in public venues, like hospitality venues, cinemas, conference centres and concert halls, are permitted. At locations where people have an assigned seat the maximum number of people is equal to the maximum number of seats available with 1.5-metre distancing. At locations where people move around, like shops and museums, the maximum number of visitors is 1 per 5 square metres. From 30 June other events that require a permit can be held subject to conditions. 

  • Sports and 1.5-metre distancing

Amateur sports matches and competitions can be held for all ages from 26 June. Spectators are permitted, but they must stay 1.5 metres apart.
No 1.5-metre distancing at locations and events using coronavirus entry pass system
At locations where a coronavirus entry pass system is used, people do not have to stay 1.5 metres apart. Currently, the only valid entry pass is a negative test result obtained through pre-admission testing. From 23 June proof of vaccination and proof of recovery can also be used. These 3 options can be displayed in the CoronaCheck app, which is being updated. Coronavirus entry passes are expected to be used mostly for festivals and other events. Dance venues, like nightclubs and discos, can also use a coronavirus entry pass system, in which case they can open without restrictions. 

  • Alcohol ban and advice on singing, shouting and playing wind instruments

The ban on the sale of alcohol after 22.00 will be lifted on 26 June. The ban on drinking alcohol or having it on your person in public spaces after 22.00 will also be lifted. The urgent advice not to sing, shout or play wind instruments in groups will also no longer apply.

  • Free coronavirus test for people travelling abroad

People travelling abroad from the Netherlands in July and August can get tested for free. These free tests are intended for people who are not yet fully vaccinated and are required to show a negative test result before travelling abroad.

Looking ahead

The basic rules continue to apply. In mid-August the government will decide how and when the final step of the reopening plan can be taken. This will involve lifting the 1.5 metre rule and the other basic rules.