Dutch measures against coronavirus: basic rules for everyone

We will only get the virus under control if everyone keeps to the basic rules: work from home, practise good hygiene, stay 1.5 metres apart, avoid busy places and wear a face mask.

Stay at home at much as possible

Only go outside to shop for essentials, to get medical or other care for yourself or provide it for others or animals, to get some fresh air or to go to work or school if working or learning remotely is not possible.

Work from home, unless this is impossible

The advice is still to work from home, unless this is impossible.

  • You should only go to your place of work if your presence is essential to operational processes and you cannot do your work from home.
    • At the moment, people should not be going to work to meet with colleagues or clients.
    • Employers must ensure that any employee who can work from home does so.
    • Employees who are requested to come into work even though their presence is not essential, should raise this with their employer.
    • Where working from home is not possible, employers will stagger working hours.
    • Avoid peak travel times.

Limit your contact with others

  • Keep in touch with others via telephone or video calls.
  • Have no more than one visitor aged 13 or over per day.
  • Visit no more than one other household per day.
  • Seeing fewer people is hard on everyone. So look out for any people around you who might need extra attention, especially those who are ill, lonely or struggling with mental health issues.
  • These restrictions don’t apply to visits by medical professionals, carers or informal carers.

Hygiene rules

  • 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: in the street, in shops and other buildings and at work.
    • People who live at the same address to not need to stay 1.5 metres apart.
    • Keeping a distance of 1.5 metres reduces the chance of people infecting each other.

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. Leave if you notice a place is busy and it is difficult to keep a distance of 1.5 metres. If people gather in groups and this poses a risk to safety or public health, enforcement officers can take action.

Face mask requirement

Everyone aged 13 or over is required to wear a face mask for general use in the following situations:

  • In buildings and covered spaces that are accessible to the public (in so far as these are open). This includes:
    • shops, town halls, airports, covered car parks and petrol stations;
    • schools, 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.
  • On public transport, in stations, on platforms and at bus and tram stops.

In all these places wearing a face mask is required by law. If you do not wear a face mask, you risk being fined €95.

Please note: until at least 15 March many venues are closed.

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

  • while swimming in a swimming pool (but face masks should be worn in the changing room and by poolside trainers or supervisors);
  • in churches, mosques and other places of worship;
  • when they are unable to wear a face mask on medical grounds or because of other limitations;
  • when the face mask prevents them from doing their work properly and safely.

Face shields do not offer the same level of protection as face masks and may not be worn as an alternative. However, if you are unable to wear a face mask you may choose to wear a face shield.

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

Get tested and stay at home if you have symptoms

Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should stay at home and get tested. This also applies to children. Children under 4 can go to childcare if they only have cold symptoms.

In the following cases you can get tested even if you don’t have symptoms:

  • Contact tracing has shown you have been in close contact with an infected person.
  • You have received a notification from the CoronaMelder app following contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus.
  • You have recently been abroad.

In these cases you must self-quarantine for 10 days, but you can get tested after 5 days. If the result is negative, you no longer need to self-quarantine. If you develop symptoms, don’t wait until day 5 to get tested but make an appointment immediately.

If you have been included in an investigation into an outbreak, you can get tested even if you do not have symptoms. In this case you do not need to self-quarantine, unless you or close contacts develop symptoms.

Read more about testing for coronavirus and self-quarantining.

Stay at home until you receive the test result. Don’t receive visitors. If you have shortness of breath or a fever above 38 degrees, all members of your household and other close contacts must also stay at home until you receive the result. If the test shows that you have coronavirus, the municipal health service (GGD) will tell you what to do. The GGD will carry out source and contact tracing with you. If the test shows that you do not have coronavirus, you can go outside again. If your symptoms get worse, change or don’t go away, call your doctor. In a life-threatening situation, always call 112.

Please note: you should continue to follow the basic rules and take particular care around older people and people with health issues, even if you have tested negative. Avoid contact with people in at-risk groups until 10 days after your last high-risk contact if you have been tested but do not have symptoms. You may still develop symptoms during this time.

If you develop symptoms of coronavirus disease again or if your symptoms get worse, stay at home and get tested again. Or call your family doctor. 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 and get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day.
  • Eat a varied and healthy diet, with lots of fruit and vegetables.
  • Drink enough water.
  • Don’t drink more than one alcoholic drink a day, and don’t drink at all if you are under 18.
  • Stop smoking.

See the RIVM website for more information on a healthy lifestyle and COVID-19 (in Dutch).

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.  
  • Visits to care homes are allowed as long as this does not hamper efforts to prevent the spread of coronavirus. 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 12 and under do not have to stay 1.5 metres away from other children and adults. 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. 

Read more about the Dutch measures against coronavirus: