Measures to stop the spread of coronavirus extended
Please note: this news item was published on April 21.
Together we will continue the approach to tackling coronavirus in the Netherlands. Handwashing, staying at home as much as possible, working from home, keeping a distance from others – all the measures advised by experts have been extended. But careful steps will be taken to give children and teenagers a little more freedom.
Thanks to the measures put in place to tackle coronavirus we are, slowly, moving in the right direction. Many people have found a way to manage their everyday lives, even if it is not always easy. Healthcare professionals are doing their utmost to give everyone the medical care they need. People are still being admitted to hospital with coronavirus, but the number of patients is falling steadily.
Although the situation is still precarious, there is now some scope to relax measures. This will ease the pressure people are under. For example parents who are trying to combine work with schooling their children at home. And children and teenagers who are missing school, sports activities and playing. The scope we have now is the result of all our efforts. Because we have followed the measures, we can now take small steps forward.
The government has extended most measures until 19 May inclusive. In the week before 19 May the government will assess what measures are necessary in the period after that date. Below is an overview of the measures that will change and when. Over the coming weeks, the practical details will be worked out in consultation with those involved.
Schools and childcare centres
- Primary schools, including special primary schools, and childcare centres for children aged 0 to 4 (including childminders) will reopen on 11 May. Children who normally go to out-of-school care (BSO) can do so on the days they attend school.
- The size of classes at primary schools will be halved. Pupils will go to school approximately 50% of the time. They will spend the other 50% of their school hours doing distance learning.
- The practical details will be worked out by the schools in the weeks ahead. Different schools may opt for different measures. Schools will inform parents about the arrangements at their children’s school.
- Pupils of primary schools for special education may attend school every day.
- Parents are asked to take their children to school or childcare on foot or by bike wherever possible. This will prevent public transport becoming crowded.
- Secondary schools can begin making preparations for pupils to gradually return to school from Tuesday 2 June.
- From 29 April children and teenagers will have more scope for participating in organised sports activities and play outdoors. Official matches will not be allowed.
- Children aged 12 and under will be allowed to play sports 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.
- Municipalities will make agreements on this with local sports clubs and community sports coaches. Different municipalities may opt for different approaches.
- Top-level athletes will be allowed to resume training sessions at dedicated training facilities if they maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from others.
Older people living independently
The recommendation not to visit people aged over 70 will be adjusted. From 29 April people aged over 70 who live independently may be visited occasionally by the same one or two people.
Events and culture
Unfortunately large events mean a risk of the virus spreading too quickly and too widely. The ban on events that require a permit has therefore been extended to 1 September 2020.
The social and economic effects
Every step that we take in this process will be a relief to some and a cause of disappointment or concern to others. We are opting for an intelligent way to move forward towards a healthy society in which people feel safe, can do business, go to school and move as freely as possible. The promising plans that businesses and organisations are making for a 1.5-metre society will contribute to this.
The social and economic effects of this crisis are substantial. Thanks to its strong financial position, the government is able to offer some support to businesses, self-employed people and hard-hit sectors. But it is unavoidable that many people will be affected to some extent. Fortunately we are seeing that people, businesses and organisations throughout society are rising to the challenge and helping others.