A coronavirus press conference was expected on 29th September 2020, but a day ahead on, September 28, 2020, Rutte and Jonge surprised the Netherlands anticipating it. During the persconferentie (impromptu press conference), The premier Rutte and the health minister De Jonge stressed the gravity of the situation and introduced new rules, aiming to contain COVID-19 contagion and bring the national R-value back to 1.3.
These new policies, according to Jonge, will need to be enforced in order to prevent a later national lockdown. Most are valid nationwide, but some are specifically targeted to hard-hit areas such as Randstad cities.
The New Corona Rules (Maatregels)
New health safety rules were announced:
- At home, a household may have up to 3 visitors. An exception is made for children under 13 years of age.
- Working for home, until now heavily suggested, has become the norm. Employer may incur in a two-week forced closure in case of violation.
- Establishments involved in contact professions will need guest registration.
- Indoor venues with a high flow of visitors, such as musea and libraries, will only accept people on the basis of reservations.
- Catering venues may only hold 30 people inside and 50 people outside, with at most 4 people per party (unless they are from the same household).
- The Horeca sector will close at 10 and establishments may not accept new customers after 9.
- Sport events, both amateur and professional, may not have an audience. Sports canteens are closed.
- Access to supermarkets and other retail spaces will be possible only with a trolley cart, which will be previously disinfected. The elderly might be able, in the future, to have dedicated opening times.
- Mask use is suggested, but not enforced.
In Amsterdam, Rotterdam and De Hague:
- Only necessary travel should be made to and from these cities.
- Hotels bookings will not be allowed.
Some details about the new maatregelen are expected to change in the following days, and can be read on the RIVM website. In particular, more suggestions about mask use are expected next week from the OMT. Meanwhile, Femke Halsema, the mayor of Amsterdam, urges people in her city to wear a mask in any indoor spaces.
These measures will take effect on September 29, at 18:00, and will be reassessed in three weeks, on October 20, 2020.