Dutch measures against coronavirus: basic rules for everyone

We will only get the virus under control if everyone keeps to the basic rules:

Basic rules for everyone

Work from home, unless this is impossible

The advice is still to work from home, unless this is impossible. Where working from home is not possible, employers will stagger working hours. Avoid peak hours. An organisation or business can be closed down for 14 days if contract tracing by the Municipal Health Service (GGD) shows that an infection occurred there.


  • Wash your hands often.
    • Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, then dry them thoroughly.
    • Wash your hands 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.

The 1.5 metre rule

  • Stay 1.5 metres (2 arms lengths) away from other people.
    • This applies to everyone over the age of 18: 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.

Avoid busy places

The virus can spread easily among people in groups. And carrying out source and contact tracing is more difficult when large numbers of people have gathered together in groups. If people gather in groups and this poses a safety or public health risk, enforcement officers can take action.

Wear a face mask

Everyone aged 13 or over should wear a face mask in indoor public spaces.

  • People should wear a mask in all buildings and covered spaces that are accessible to the public. This includes:
    • shops, town halls, stations, airports, covered car parks and petrol stations;
    • theatres and concert halls, while people are walking or standing. They can take off their face mask as soon as they have taken their seat.
  • Both customers and staff should wear a face mask in locations where contact-based professions are carried out.
  • Wearing a face mask is mandatory on public transport. People who do not wear a face mask will be fined.

People do not have to wear a face mask in the following situations:

  • when taking part in theatre, dance or sport or performing music as a cultural activity;
  • while swimming in a swimming pool (but face masks should be worn in the changing room and by poolside trainers or supervisors);
  • when they are unable to wear a face mask on medical grounds or because of other limitations.

You can buy or make your own non-medical face masks. This video shows you how to make your own non-medical face mask.

Get tested and stay at home if you have symptoms

It is crucial that everyone with symptoms of COVID-19 gets tested. This allows for people who have had contact with a person with COVID-19 to be informed as soon as possible. Then, they can take steps to ensure they don’t contribute to the further spread of the virus. Children of primary school age and under do not need to be tested if they have COVID-19 symptoms. If your child is very sick, contact your family doctor. They will decide whether your child needs a test. A test can also be arranged for a child who develops symptoms following contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. Read more about testing for coronavirus. Read more about testing for coronavirus

  • Symptoms that may point to COVID-19 are: a stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, a sore throat, a mild cough, a sudden loss of smell or taste, a fever and shortness of breath.
  • If you have one or more of these symptoms, get tested. Stay at home until you receive the results. If you have shortness of breath or a fever above 38 degrees Celsius, all members of your household must also stay at home until you receive the results. If they have symptoms, they must also get tested.
    • If the test shows that you do not have coronavirus, you and other members of your household can leave your home again. If you feel well enough, you can go outside and go to work. Children can go back to school or childcare. If your symptoms get worse, change or don’t go away, call your doctor. In a life-threatening situation, always call 112.
    • If the test shows you do have coronavirus, you and all members of your household must stay at home. The municipal health service (GGD) will tell you what else you and the people you have been in contact with need to do. For more information about the rules at home and what to do if you have coronavirus, go to the RIVM website.
    • The municipal health service (GGD) will carry out source and contact tracing with you. People who have been in contact with someone who has coronavirus will be given instructions on what they should and should not do. This includes going into self-quarantine if they had close contact with the infected person.  
  • If you are seriously ill, call your doctor or the out-of-hours GP service (‘huisartsenpost’) immediately. In a life-threatening situation, always call 112.

Health advice for everyone

A healthy lifestyle keeps your immune system strong. A strong immune system helps protect people from bacteria and viruses that can make them sick, such as coronavirus. People with a strong immune system get sick less often. And, if they do get sick, they usually recover more quickly. A healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be complicated. Small changes can make a difference. Keep yourself healthy:

  • Try to do at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day.
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods, including lots of fruit and vegetables.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Don’t drink more than one alcoholic drink a day (and don’t drink at all if you are under 18).
  • Stop smoking. See Ikstopnu.nl for tips and advice to stop smoking (in Dutch only).

Advice for people with health issues (at-risk groups)

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 have a higher risk of becoming seriously ill if they get coronavirus. This applies to healthy older people, but particularly to older people who are not fully independent. People with underlying health conditions also have a higher risk of becoming seriously ill with coronavirus. If you have health issues, take extra care and follow the basic rules carefully.  
  • Care homes with no coronavirus cases must allow each resident at least one visitor. Residents at the end of their life or in a critical condition are always allowed to have visitors. Care homes will assess the situation and decide when residents can receive more visitors. Guidelines have been drawn up for this purpose. 
  • In the event of an outbreak in a care home, all residents and staff will be tested weekly.
  • It is especially important to follow the basic rules when visiting people who fall into an at-risk group. This includes staying 1.5 metres apart. Make clear arrangements and check before the visit whether anyone has symptoms. If a visitor or a person they want to visit has cold-like symptoms, a fever or shortness of breath, the visit should be postponed. Visits should take place outdoors, if possible, because this is safer.

Advice for children and teenagers

  • Children aged 0 to 4 can go to daycare or their childminder if they have cold-like symptoms (a stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, a sore throat) as long as they do not have a fever. The same applies to the youngest children at primary schools (‘groep 1’ and ‘groep 2’). They can go to school and out-of-school care as long as they only have cold-like symptoms and no fever.
  • Children must stay home if they have been in contact with someone who has coronavirus or if they live with an adult who has a fever or shortness of breath.
  • 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.
  • Teenagers aged between 13 and 17 (inclusive) do not have to stay 1.5 metres apart from each other. At secondary schools, this rule applies to all pupils, regardless of their age. At secondary vocational education and higher education institutions, all students must stay 1.5 metres apart, regardless of their age.

Read more about the Dutch measures against coronavirus: