Rules that apply indoors and outdoors

The rules that apply indoors distinguish between homes, indoor spaces that people primarily move through (such as shops and museums) and indoor spaces where people mainly stay in one place (such as cinemas and bars). Outdoors, everyone aged 18 or over must stay 1.5 metres away from one another.

The rules that apply indoors

In terms of the rules that apply indoors, a distinction is made between homes, indoor spaces that people primarily move through (such as shops and museums) and indoor spaces where people mainly stay in one place (such as cinemas and bars).

  • There is no maximum number of people for gatherings in homes. But people are strongly advised to make sure everyone can observe the hygiene rules and can 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.
  • In indoor spaces where people mainly stay in once place, such as restaurants and theatres or at indoor events like weddings and funerals, everyone must have their own seat. And, of course, people must stay 1.5 metres apart.
    • If people have not made reservations and have not undergone a pre-entry health check, the maximum number of people is limited to 100, provided everyone can keep sufficient distance from one another. Traffic routes in the building must be clearly marked.
    • In larger rooms or spaces where more than 100 people could gather, reservations and pre-entry health checks are mandatory. In such cases, no maximum number of people applies, but there must be clear, differentiated routes into and out of the space and other places, like washrooms.
  • Without reservations and pre-entry health checks, the maximum number of people allowed in a given space is 100, provided everyone can keep sufficient distance from one another. Traffic routes in the building must be clearly marked.
  • In restaurants, cafés and bars, reservations and pre-entry health checks are always mandatory and, regardless of the number of guests, everyone must have their own seat. 
    • In workplaces, everyone must have their own seat and stay 1.5 metres apart too, in so far as tasks allow this.
    • Nightclubs and similar dance venues will remain closed for the time being.
  • As of 10 August 2020, restaurants, cafés and bars must ask guests to provide their names and contact details for contact tracing by the municipal health service (GGD) in the event someone is infected.
    • Information is provided on a voluntary basis. Guests 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.
  • In indoor settings where visitors move through the space, such as shops and museums, no maximum number of people applies. However, locations must take measures to ensure it does not become too busy.
  • The ventilation in indoor spaces must meet the requirements set out in the Buildings Decree and correspond with the way the space is being used, so that the air is sufficiently refreshed.
    • Individuals may use fans. In shared spaces, the advice is to use fans only when there is no other way of providing cooling. People should take care to ensure that the fan does not cause a flow of air directly from one person to another.

The rules that apply outdoors

  • Everyone aged 18 or over must stay 1.5 metres away from one another and from teenagers aged 13 to 17. People who form one household and people who require or provide care or assistance are exempted from this rule. They do not need to stay 1.5 apart from one another.
    • Enforcement action will be taken if 3 or more people are not keeping a distance of 1.5 metres.
  • At outdoor locations where there is a continuous flow of people, such as shopping streets, zoos or fairs, no maximum number of people applies.
  • At outdoor locations where there is not a continuous flow of people, no maximum number of people applies provided that they have made reservations, undergone a pre-entry health check and have their own seat.
    • A maximum number of 250 people applies in situations where people have not made reservations or undergone a pre-entry health check, or where they do not have their own seat. One example is spectators along the edge of sports pitches.
    • In restaurants, cafés and bars, guests must have reservations, undergo a pre-entry health check and are required to have their own seats.
    • In outdoor seating areas at restaurants, cafés and bars, hygiene screens can be installed as an alternative to seating customers 1.5 metres apart.

Local measures

  • The ban on events that require a permit was lifted on 1 July 2020. It is up to local authorities to decide whether organisers can satisfactorily ensure that those who attend the events will be able to stay 1.5 metres apart and to lay down any additional conditions they deem necessary. Applying for a permit takes time, so it will be several weeks before the first events take place. Not everything will be possible immediately.
  • Local authorities may ban events and gatherings because of public health risks. This includes banning spectators at professional or amateur football matches, for example.
  • Local authorities may close non-essential establishments and recreational facilities such as restaurants, cinemas, museums and amusement parks for 14 days if GGD contact tracing indicates that transmission occurred there.
  • In the interest of public health, local authorities have the power to take the following measures:
    • limit the opening times of restaurants, cafés, bars and night shops
    • require that face masks be worn in specific public spaces, including outdoors
    • close off areas and restrict parking to reduce crowds
    • other crowd control measures.

Education

Teachers and childcare staff 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) should stay at home.

Primary schools, schools for special education and out-of-school care

  • Primary schools, schools for special education and out-of-school care are open for all pupils as normal.
  • Children in the first two years of primary school (‘groep 1/2’) who develop cold symptoms may still go to school. They may also go to out-of-school care, provided they do not have a fever.
  • Pupils should stay home if members of their family have symptoms that could point to coronavirus: sneezing, a sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, a mild cough, a sudden loss of taste or smell, a fever or shortness of breath. Family members must in this case get tested. The municipal health service (GGD) will explain what to do next.

Secondary schools, including special secondary schools

  • Since 1 July, pupils no longer need to stay 1.5 metres from each other. This applies to all secondary school pupils, regardless of their age.
    • Pupils should walk or cycle to school if possible.
    • Until at least the end of this academic year, schools will arrange special transportation for pupils who live far away.
  • In the new school year, secondary schools will be able to provide the regular number of teaching hours to all pupils.

Secondary vocational schools and higher education institutions (universities and HBOs)

  • To the greatest extent possible, secondary vocational schools and higher education institutions (universities and HBOs) should hold orientation activities online. In-person activities can only take place in small groups and must be informative in nature.
  • Study associations (‘studieverenigingen’) and student sports clubs can only hold in-person activities if these are necessary to introduce students to their chosen programme of study or sport and provided that the 1.5 metre rule is respected.
  • Such activities can only take place in small groups and must end by 22.00 at the latest. Alcohol is not permitted.
  • The management of the educational institution in question and the head of the relevant safety region must give permission for such activities to take place.
  • As of 10 August 2020, student societies (‘studentenverenigingen’) are not permitted to hold in-person recruitment or induction activities.

Sport and recreation

  • As of 1 July all sports, indoors and outdoors, are allowed.
  • People should stay 1.5 metres away from one another when engaging in sports activities, unless the nature of the sport makes this impossible.
  • Health checks will take place.
  • Spectators will be permitted at matches and competitions as of 1 July.
    • They must follow the same general rules that apply inside or outside.
    • Loud group singing, group chanting or group shouting is not permitted.
    • Local authorities have the power to temporarily ban spectators at competitions and training sessions if they deem necessary.

Creative activities like acting, playing a wind instrument and singing

  • Children and adults, whether professionals or amateurs, may again engage in creative activities like practising in groups, rehearsing and performing. They must follow the same general rules that apply inside or outside.
    • In some cases, such as when acting or dancing, physical contact is necessary, and the 1.5 metre distancing rule should be adhered to in so far as possible. This applies to both professionals and amateurs.
    • Wind instrument players can play, if they stay at least 2 metres from others. The sector has included this rule in its protocol.
  • Professional singers may perform, but as a precaution, must keep a good distance from other performers and the audience. The sector has drafted protocols to this end.
  • Choirs and singers in groups (both professional and amateur) are allowed to start rehearsing or performing together if they follow the guidelines provided by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (only in Dutch). 
    • Singing in the context of a religious or faith-based event is subject to the same rules. People at higher risk are advised to take extra precautions.
  • Singing along at concerts or church services, for example, is not allowed.

Contact-based roles

All people in contact-based roles may go back to work as of 1 July 2020.

Transport

The general rule is that everyone must stay 1.5 metres apart. Sometimes, like on public transport, this is not possible. 

From 1 July the following rules apply to transport:

  • Use of public transport is no longer restricted to essential travel only and all seats on buses, trains, trams and metros can be used. However, it is still important to avoid peak hours.
  • Passengers aged 13 and over must wear a non-medical face mask. Face masks do not need to be worn in stations, on platforms or while waiting for public transport at a stop.

    • The fine for not wearing a mask on public transport is €95.
    • To ensure safe and efficient boarding, put your mask on well before you need to get into the vehicle.
  • For commercial transport, such as taxis, passenger vans and coaches, passengers must undergo a pre-travel health check and – if possible – reserve a seat in advance. Non-medical face masks must also be worn by all passengers aged 13 and over. If you are the only passenger you do not have to wear a face mask.
  • People travelling in a car or other private vehicle are advised to wear non-medical face masks if there are 2 or more people in the vehicle who belong to different households.
  • On other forms of transport the rule is: stay 1.5 metres apart.
  • A pre-entry health check is required when travelling by taxi, and passengers are advised to book in advance. When 2 or more passengers are travelling together in a taxi, those aged 13 and over are required to wear a non-medical face mask. Face masks are not required for passengers travelling alone. There are no new restrictions regarding occupancy.
  • A pre-entry health check is required when travelling by passenger van or coach, and passengers are advised to book their seats in advance. All passengers aged 13 and over must wear a non-medical face mask. If, beyond the driver, there is only one passenger in the vehicle, a face mask is not required. There are no new restrictions regarding occupancy.
  • When 2 or more passengers are travelling in a commercial vehicle (light goods vehicle, moving van, lorry, etc.), non-medical face masks are required unless passengers are able to keep a 1.5-metre distance from one another.
  • Avoid travelling at peak hours.
    • Schools and universities will take measures to prevent public transport becoming too busy during peak hours. For example by adjusting school hours.
    • Employers will also take measures to prevent public transport becoming too busy during peak hours. For example by encouraging staff to work from home and by adjusting working hours if travel is necessary.
  • Travel by bicycle or on foot as much as possible for short journeys.

Read more about the Dutch measures against coronavirus: