Coronavirus: additional measures introduced on 23 March

Please note: this news item was published on March 24. Read more about the current approach to tackling coronavirus in the Netherlands.

The government has introduced additional, stricter measures to control the coronavirus outbreak. The new measures mainly concern events and gatherings. The measures were announced and outlined during a press conference on Monday 23 March. After the press conference, further consultations took place to flesh out the precise details.

In accordance with section 7 of the Public Health Act, Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport Hugo de Jonge, together with Minister of Justice and Security Ferd Grapperhaus, has asked the Safety Regions Council to enact the measures set out below. The Safety Regions Council comprises the heads of the safety regions.

1. Events and gatherings for which organisers would normally be required to apply for a permit or notify the authorities are banned until 1 June 2020.

2. All other gatherings are banned until at least 6 April, with a small number of exceptions:

a. gatherings that are required by law, such as municipal council meetings and meetings of the States-General. These gatherings must not exceed 100 people.

b. gatherings that are necessary to ensure the continued daily operations of institutions, businesses and other organisations. These gatherings must not exceed 100 people.

c. funerals and marriage ceremonies. These gatherings must not exceed 30 people.

d. religious or ideological gatherings. These gatherings must not exceed 30 people.

The gatherings listed above can only take place if all recommended hygiene measures to combat the spread of coronavirus are taken and participants stay 1.5 metres away from one another.

3. Casinos, amusement arcades and similar establishments must close. Businesses in contact-based industries, such as hair salons and beauty parlours must also close.

4. All those in contact-based roles must stop performing their jobs, unless it is possible to maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from clients at all times. This includes masseurs, hairdressers, nail stylists, escorts and driving instructors. An exception has been made for those providing treatment in medical or paramedical roles, but only if there is a specific medical reason and the relevant hygiene measures are taken.

5. Shops and markets must close and public transport services must cease if the relevant hygiene measures are not complied with sufficiently or if people are not keeping a good distance from others (1.5 metres).

6. Places such as holiday parks, camp sites, parks, nature conservation areas and beaches will be closed if the relevant hygiene measures are not complied with sufficiently, if people are not keeping a good distance from others (1.5 metres) or if there is a risk of either of these situations occurring.

7. There is a ban on gathering in groups in public, regardless of whether or not this is intentional. The government is defining a group as three or more people together who are not keeping at least 1.5 metres away from one another. This rule does not apply to people who are part of the same household. It does also not apply to children aged 12 or below who are playing together, supervised by one or more parents or guardians. However, the parents or guardians must ensure they themselves are 1.5 metres apart.

In a letter to the Safety Regions Council the government noted that local emergency legislation (noodverordening) must be introduced to enforce the measures under 2 and 3. The measures under 4 to 7 must be included in this emergency legislation in such a way that they can be enforced where necessary.

The measures under 2 to 7 will be reassessed by 6 April 2020 at the latest.