Rules that apply indoors and outdoors
The rules about groups and maximum numbers of people are different for homes, spaces that people primarily move through (such as shops) and indoor spaces where people mainly stay in one place (such as hairdressers). But there are other rules too, about things like ventilation.
Rules that apply indoors and outdoors
- At home, whether indoors or outdoors, you may receive no more than 1 visitor a day. This does not include children under 13.
- You may not visit more than 1 other household a day, even if you go alone.
- More than half of infections occur at home. So think carefully about whether the visit is really necessary.
- During the visit, everyone must observe the hygiene rules and be able to stay 1.5 metres apart at all times.
- If a gathering causes a nuisance or poses a risk to public health, the authorities can take action.
Outside the home
Outside homes, no more than 2 people can go somewhere or do something together, not counting children under 13.
- This applies to all areas that are accessible to the public, indoors and outdoors.
- There are allowed to be more than 2 people in a group if all people in the group live at the same address.
The maximum group size does not apply in the following situations:
- Demonstrations, gatherings and meetings as referred to in the Public Assemblies Act
- People gathering to practise a religion or belief
- Funerals (maximum of 50 people)
- Weddings (maximum of 30 people)
- Taking part in theatre or dance, or performing music as a cultural activity
- Professions, businesses or associations
- Participation in top-level sport
- Participation in sport for everyone under 27
- Participation in organised activities for under 18s. Exemption applies to the people organising or supervising these activities as well as the participants
- Public transport and commercial passenger transport
- A gathering taking place under the auspices of a judge or a public prosecutor
- People whose occupation requires them to work in groups, such as investigating officers, healthcare workers, childcare staff, firefighters, staff working in the criminal justice or asylum system, etc.
- People forming a group for the purposes of carrying out community service orders
- Meetings of the States General, a municipal council, provincial council, general board of a water authority or related committees
- Meetings of international organisations or treaty parties.
Many people become infected with coronavirus through family and friends. The requirement to stay indoors at night means that fewer people will visit or meet up with each other. Research has shown that night-time curfews help to reduce the spread of the virus.
A curfew came into force on Saturday 23 January.
- From 21.00 until 04.30 no one is permitted to be outside without a valid reason.
- The curfew will remain in force until 04.30 on Wednesday 15 March 2021.
- The fine for breaking the curfew is € 95.
Who is allowed to be outdoors?
If you need to go out during curfew hours, you may do so only in the following circumstances:
- in the event of an emergency
- you need urgent medical or other assistance, an animal needs urgent veterinary assistance or someone needs your urgent assistance
- your employer requires you to leave your home for your work
- you are travelling abroad or to the Caribbean part of the Netherlands, or returning to the Netherlands
- you are walking a dog on a lead. You must do this on your own
- you are going to or returning from a funeral and can prove this
- you are travelling in connection with a summons issued by a court, a public prosecutor or an objection, judicial review or appeals committee
- you are travelling to take an examination or test as part of your MBO, HBO or university course and can prove this
- you are travelling in connection with practical training (secondary education, MBO, HBO, university)
- you are travelling to or from educations activities for exam year students in adult general secondary education (VAVO)
- you are travelling to or from a live broadcast where you are appearing as a guest and can prove this by showing your invitation to participate.
What forms are required?
- If it is essential for you to be outdoors during curfew hours, in most cases you must complete the ‘Self-declaration for curfew exemption’ form and be able to present it digitally or on paper.
- You do not need to have a completed declaration with you in the event of an emergency, if you are returning from abroad or if you are walking a dog.
- If you are travelling to the Netherlands from abroad, you must however be able to prove this (for example by showing a ticket) and explain why you are travelling during curfew hours.
- Providing false information on the declaration is considered forgery, which is a criminal offence.
- If you have to be outdoors for work-related reasons, you must also be able to show a ‘Self-declaration for curfew exemption’ form and an 'Employer’s declaration for curfew exemption'. Your employer will determine whether you need to be outdoors during curfew hours. If so, they will complete the form on your behalf.
- Police officers, firefighters and ambulance crew do not have to carry forms. The same applies for train and tram drivers and conductors, metro and bus drivers, taxi drivers, air crew and the crew of passenger ships.
Until at least 15 March most indoor public spaces will be closed to members of the public. This applies in any case to:
- Entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, casinos, zoos and amusement parks.
- From 3 March small-scale, not-for-profit, managed outdoor playgrounds can reopen.
- Indoor sports halls, gyms, swimming pools, saunas, etc.
- Sex establishments.
- Shops, showrooms and similar locations that are usually open to the public. This does not apply to shops that sell essentials and markets where groceries (food and drinks) are sold.
- From 10 February clothing banks may reopen, but may not provide any other services.
- For shops selling essentials the following applies:
- Shops selling non-food essentials must close no later than 20.00 and open no earlier than 06.00.
- Shops selling mainly groceries may remain open until 22.00. While the curfew is in force, these shops must close no later than 20.45 and open no earlier than 06.00
- Shops may not sell alcoholic drinks between 20.00 and closing time. After 20.00 alcoholic drinks may not be picked up from takeaway restaurants either.
- Shops must take steps to prevent the premises from becoming too crowded. Strict compliance with protocols is essential.
- If it becomes too busy or if the basic rules are not being observed the mayor is authorised to take extra measures.
- Supermarkets must offer special shopping times when they are open only for older customers and those in at-risk groups.
- Shops can deliver orders to the customer’s home.
- Customers may pick up orders at shops. You order online or by phone and make an appointment to collect your order. Many shops call this service ‘Click & Collect’.
- You pay online or at the shop (contactless payment if possible).
- There must be at least 4 hours between placing your order and collecting it.
- You must collect your order on your own.
- You cannot exchange or return items at the shop. You can return items by post.
- The government plans to allow shopping by appointment as of 3 March. Read the rules for shopping by appointment.
- Libraries and community centres are closed, except for the following:
- Books and other items may be collected or returned at libraries.
- Support to vulnerable people, including organised daytime activities and youth work may be provided in locations such as community centres and libraries.
- Locations providing business and financial services, such as banks, mortgage lenders and estate agents, can remain open. Parts of government buildings normally accessible to the public will remain open, this includes municipal service desks and courts of law.
- Locations can be opened in order to perform key public services, e.g. polling stations during elections or COVID-19 testing and vaccinations. This also applies to locations for professional certification and examinations that are mandatory in order to perform a certain occupation or profession.
Rules for indoor spaces (besides homes)
Most indoor locations are currently closed. At locations that are open, the following rules apply:
- At indoor venues where people mainly stay in 1 place, such as community centres, and at funerals for example, everyone must have an assigned seat. People should not circulate. People moving in different directions must be well separated. And of course everyone must stay 1.5 metres apart at all times.
- A maximum of 30 people, including children but not staff, is permitted, provided everyone can keep 1.5 metres apart. Pre-entry health checks must be carried out.
- Spaces used by different groups of people must be separated by solid, floor-to-ceiling walls and be separated from the corridor or hallway by a door.
- Reservations are mandatory. Group reservations can only be made for up to 2 people.
Exemptions to the rules for indoor spaces
Most indoor locations are closed at the moment. For the locations that are still open, an exception applies to the maximum number of 30 people per room in the following situations:
- Demonstrations, gatherings and meetings as referred to in the Public Assemblies Act.
- People gathering to practise a religion or belief.
- Funerals (maximum of 50 people).
- Educational institutions, training institutions and childcare centres, institutions that are open for exams or practical training or to provide education or childcare to vulnerable children and the children of key workers (primary and secondary education).
- Healthcare institutions.
- Public transport and commercial passenger transport.
- Performing arts and cultural education. Rehearsals and recordings by professionals, for example for online performances, can go ahead.
- Participation in organised activities for under 18s. Exemption applies to the people organising or supervising these activities as well as the participants.
- Businesses and other organisations (where this is necessary in order to carry out daily operations).
- A gathering taking place under the auspices of a judge or a public prosecutor.
- Meetings of the States General or of a related committee.
- Meetings of a municipal council, provincial council and general board of a water authority, or of a committee set up by one of these bodies, and other gatherings required by law.
- Meetings of international organisations.
Other rules for indoors and outdoors
Most events are banned. Exceptions are:
- Demonstrations, gatherings and meetings as referred to in the Public Assemblies Act.
- Markets where groceries and other essential items are sold. Fairs, Christmas markets and so on are not allowed.
Establishments serving food and drink may only provide a takeaway or delivery service.
- Cannabis cafés are only open for pick-up.
- Hotel guests may pick up their food order in the hotel, but must eat in their room.
- Customers should only enter an establishment to pick up their order. Using slot machines, for example, is not allowed.
- Customers are not allowed to consume the purchased goods on site.
- While the curfew is in force, customers may not pick up orders between 20.45 and 07.00. Delivery persons can still pick up and deliver orders.
Food and drink may be served:
- at funeral locations
- in company cafeterias
- at healthcare institutions, to patients and people visiting patients
- in locations for daytime groups for vulnerable people
- at airports, beyond the security checkpoints
- at petrol stations (hot drinks only)
- Takeaway establishments may be open until 01.00. While the curfew is in force they must close for customers by 20.45. Delivery is still possible. No alcohol may be sold after 20.00. Cannabis cafés must close at 20.00.
Between 20.00 and 06.00 you may not drink alcohol or have it on your person in public spaces. This applies both indoors and outdoors.
Cannabis cafés must close at 20.00.
Possession of soft drugs is a punishable offence under the Opium Act. This means the police can always take enforcement action if you have soft drugs on your person or are using it in the public domain.
It is possible that drug users may sometimes forget to follow the rules to prevent spreading coronavirus, like staying 1.5 metres apart. In these cases the police will take action.
You are urgently advised not to sing or shout in a group other than in your own home.
- This does not apply to professional singers and children under 13.
- Extra caution is advised for people with health issues.
Ventilation indoors must meet the requirements set out in the Buildings Decree and be suited to the purpose of the room so that the air is refreshed often enough.
Fans are permitted for personal use. Fans should only be used in communal areas if no other form of cooling is available. Make sure that air from a fan does not flow directly from one person to another.
Education and childcare
Staff in at-risk groups
Teachers who have health issues or who fall into one of the at-risk groups identified by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) (aged over 70 or with underlying health conditions) cannot be ordered to teach in-person classes. Similarly, childcare staff in this category cannot be ordered to work with children at a childcare centre. They can work at home. .
Educational institutions are closed
- The measures that apply to educational institutions also apply to other locations where educational activities are organised.
- Whether or not students can complete a work placement or internship depends on the sector/branch where they are doing their work placement. If companies in the sector/branch are allowed to continue their operations, the work placement/internship can also continue.
Primary schools and daycare
- Primary schools, schools for special education and daycare centres for children under 4 are fully open again. This also applies to childminders who look after children under 13.
- The rules for testing children for coronavirus have been changed.
- Guidelines have been drawn up to help schools and childcare providers reduce the risk of outbreaks.
- Out-of-school care (BSO) will remain closed, except for emergency childcare for the children of key workers and vulnerable children.
Secondary schools, including special secondary schools
- Secondary schools reopened on 1 March. In principle every pupil should be able to attend in-person lessons at least 1 day per week. Read the rules for secondary schools.
- More in-person lessons can be offered at school for pupils who will be sitting final exams and for vulnerable pupils. School exams in the upper years of secondary school and practical training can also take place on-site.
- Special secondary schools and schools for practical training have a large number of vulnerable pupils and many of the lessons are practical lessons. At these schools, on-site teaching is the norm.
Secondary vocational education (MBO)
- Secondary vocational schools (MBO) reopened on 1 March. In principle every student should be able to attend in-person lessons 1 day per week.
- Measures were relaxed from 1 March on the condition that the 1.5 metre distancing rule can be adhered to inside buildings and that the arrangements made with national and regional public transport operators on spreading passengers across the day allow for larger numbers of students to travel safely.
- During practical training for jobs in which it is not possible to stay 1.5 metres apart, this rule does not need to be followed if closer contact is necessary for the purposes of the training.
Higher professional education (HBO) and universities (WO)
- Higher professional education institutions (HBO) and universities are providing remote teaching.
- Exams, practical training and support for vulnerable students can be offered on site.
- Students and staff must stay 1.5 metres apart at all times in and around the institution’s buildings. This also applies to students who are not yet 18. During practical training for jobs in which it is not possible to stay 1.5 metres apart, this rule does not need to be followed, but a face mask must be worn.
- As of 1 December 2020 students and staff must wear a face mask for general use while moving through the institution’s buildings. They can take off the face mask if they are seated or standing at their allocated place.
Sport and recreation
- Sports activities are permitted to a very limited extent.
- Only outdoor sports are allowed
- Only sports where participants can keep a distance of 1.5 metres are allowed.
- Groups of no more than 2 people can play sports together. This does not include the instructor.
- No matches or competitions are permitted.
- No spectators are permitted.
- Showers and changing rooms are closed, except changing rooms at swimming pools.
- To use sports facilities everyone aged 18 or over must make a reservation and a health check must be carried out beforehand.
- Reservations can only be made for up to 2 people or 1 household (people living at the same address).
Exceptions to the rules for sports and recreation
- There is an exception for elite athletes at designated training facilities, athletes taking part in top-level competition and footballers in the Eredivisie and Eerste Divisie.
- Therapeutic swimming as part of rehabilitation is permitted.
- There is also an exception for children and young people under 27. They are allowed to take part in team sports outdoors and may take part in matches and competitions against teams from their own club.
- They do not have to stay 1.5 metres apart.
- Children and young people with coronavirus symptoms must stay at home.
- There are no official matches and competitions.
Young people aged over 18 and under 27 are only allowed to take part in teams sports at sports facilities.
- As of 3 March, all contact-based professionals except sex workers may carry out their work.
- Both the service provider and their client should wear a face mask.
- Clients must make an appointment and a pre-entry health check must be carried out.
- Those in contact-based professions must ask their clients to provide their contact details for contact tracing by the municipal health service (GGD) in the event someone is infected.
- Registration is voluntary. Clients should not be refused entry because they do not wish to provide this information.
- The personal details provided may be used for contact tracing purposes only.
- This requirement does not apply to professions where providing contact details would hinder the performance of services or endanger the safety and wellbeing of those involved, such as care providers, enforcement officers and investigating officers.
People are urgently advised to use public transport for essential travel only. Travel as little as possible. This applies to all forms of transport. Travel by bicycle or on foot for short journeys. People should in principle keep 1.5 metres apart while travelling.
Passengers aged 13 and over must wear a face mask for general use on public transport, in stations, on platforms and at bus and tram stops. The fine for passengers not wearing a face mask is €95.
- Avoid travelling in a car or other private vehicle with people who do not form part of your household. An exception applies for children under 12.
- If it is absolutely necessary for 2 or more people who do not live at the same address to travel in the same car, everyone in the vehicle should wear a face mask.
- For commercial transport, such as taxis, passenger vans and coaches, passengers must undergo a pre-travel health check and reserve a seat in advance. Face masks for general use must also be worn by all passengers aged 13 and over, including in stations and at stops. If there are other passengers on board you may be fined if you do not wear a face mask.
- A pre-entry health check is required when travelling by taxi, and passengers must book in advance. Passengers aged 13 and over are required to wear a face mask for general use. If there are 2 or more passengers in the taxi you may be fined if you do not wear a face mask. There are no restrictions regarding occupancy.
- A pre-entry health check is required when travelling by passenger van or coach, and passengers must book their seats in advance. All passengers aged 13 and over must wear a face mask for general use. If there are 3 or more people on board, you may be fined if you do not wear a face mask. There are no restrictions regarding occupancy.
- When 3 or more passengers are travelling in a commercial vehicle (light goods vehicle, moving van, lorry, etc.), face masks for general use are required unless passengers are able to keep a 1.5-metre distance from one another.