Netherlands: relaxation of sanitary measures, catering and culture remain closed

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced on Friday evening the relaxation of some of the most restrictive anti-Covid19 restrictions in Europe, by authorizing shops, gyms, hairdressers and sex shops to reopen. Bars, restaurants, cafes and cultural establishments will remain closed until at least January 25.

Mr. Rutte considered that the easing of constraints was a “great time” for the Netherlands, which spent Christmas and the New Year confined, the restrictions having been reinforced on December 19. Shops can open until 5 p.m. from Saturday, as well as sports clubs and education Schools reopened on 10 January.

New Health Minister Ernst Kuipers said the government had decided to ease restrictions due to declining hospitalizations despite a wave of infections with the Omicron variant. Mr. Rutte, however, explained that it was too early to reopen bars and other catering establishments, warning against these new contaminations which could soon, according to him, reach 75,000 or 80,000 per day in the Netherlands.

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