Dutch measures against coronavirus: basic rules for everyone

To further relax the restrictions, we need to strengthen the control we have gained over the virus since March. In this new phase everyone must follow certain basic rules: avoid busy places, work from home if possible, keep a distance of 1.5 metres from other people, stay at home if you have cold-like symptoms, and stay at home if a member of your household has a fever and/or shortness of breath. And of course: wash your hands often, cough and sneeze into your elbow and use paper tissues and dispose of them immediately after use. If you are over the age of 70 or have health issues, take extra care.

Basic rules for everyone

  • Wash your hands.
    • Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, then dry them thoroughly.
    • Wash your hands often: before you go out, when you return home, after blowing your nose and of course before meals and after going to the toilet.
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow.
  • Use paper tissues to blow your nose and discard them after use.
    • Then wash your hands.
  • Don’t shake hands with others.
  • Stay 1.5 metres (2 arms lengths) away from other people.
    • This applies to everyone: in the street, in shops and other buildings and at work – even if you are a key worker. It does not apply to family members or other people that you live with. And it does not apply if you are providing assistance to someone, for example pushing a wheelchair.
    • Keeping a distance of 1.5 metres reduces the chance of people infecting each other.
  • Leave if you notice it is becoming difficult to keep a distance of 1.5 metres.
  • Work from home if possible.
    • Where working from home is not possible, employers will stagger working hours.
    • Avoid the rush hour. 
  • Stay near your home. Travel by bike or on foot as much as possible.
  • Only use public transport if there is no alternative.
    • On public transport it is not always possible to keep a distance of 1.5 metres and passenger’s health cannot be assessed before they travel. It is therefore advisable to wear a non-medical face mask on public transport to protect others. From 1 June all passengers aged 13 and over will be required to wear a non-medical face mask on trams, buses, water buses, metros and trains. 
    • You can buy or make your own non-medical face masks.

Stay at home if you have cold-like symptoms

  • If you have mild cold-like symptoms, such as a sore throat, a runny nose, sneezing, a mild cough or a mild fever below 38 degrees Celsius, you should stay at home until you are fully recovered. Do not go out to buy groceries and don’t have any visitors. Have others do the shopping for you, or have your groceries delivered. Ask someone else to walk the dog. Household members without symptoms can follow the rules that apply to everyone in the Netherlands (see above). If you feel better and have not had any symptoms for 24 hours, you can go outside again. People who work in crucial sectors and critical processes are often still allowed to work if they have mild symptoms. They should discuss this with their employer.
  • If you have cold-like symptoms and a fever above 38 degrees Celsius and/or shortness of breath, stay at home until you are fully recovered. Do not go out to buy groceries and don’t have any visitors. Others in your household must stay at home too. Only household members with no symptoms may briefly go out to buy groceries. This restriction does not apply to people who work in crucial sectors and critical processes. They can go to work unless they develop shortness of breath and/or a fever above 38 degrees Celsius. If no members of your household have had any symptoms for 24 hours, you can go outside again. For more information about the rules at home, go to the RIVM website.

Advice for people with health issues

Coronavirus does not affect everyone in the same way. Some people have hardly any symptoms, while others become seriously ill. However, it is clear that some groups have a higher risk of becoming very ill or even dying.

  • People aged 70 and over and people with underlying health conditions have a higher risk of becoming seriously ill with coronavirus. If you have health issues, take extra care. It is a good idea to stay at home as much as possible and to don’t have any visitors for now. 
  • One care home in each GGD region is admitting a limited number of visitors under strict conditions. From 25 May the policy will be extended to more care homes. The government expects to be able to adapt the visiting policy for all care homes from 15 June.
  • Don’t visit anyone aged 70 or over, or anyone with health issues.
    • An exception has been made for older people with a limited support network who live on their own and are not fully independent. To prevent social isolation, they may be visited on a regular basis by the same 1 or 2 people. During these visits all the general health rules still apply. This includes staying at least 1.5 metres apart. These regular visitors must stay at home if they develop cold-like symptoms, a fever or shortness of breath.

Advice for children and teenagers

  • Children aged 12 and under do not have to stay 1.5 metres away from other children. All other hygiene rules also apply to children.
  • Children and teenagers may participate in organised sports and exercise activities outdoors under supervision. Official matches and competitions are not permitted.
  • Children and teenagers aged 18 and under may participate in regular group activities organised by scout groups, art and culture clubs, and other youth groups. The same conditions apply as for sports clubs. Young people aged 13 to 18 who participate in organised sports and exercise activities may train together outdoors under supervision, but must stay 1.5 metres apart.
    • From 1 June these types of activities can also be held indoors. All the rules for indoor gatherings must be followed.