Here’s today’s press conference because of the sharp increase in cases over the past week.
With a new daily case rate that is above 5000, we can only say the outlook is no longer as positive anymore.
The news of tonight is a big blow to the hospitality and event sectors, but there will be financial support.
On to the measures: they are not nice but absolutely necessary, according to Rutte. The case rates are rising more rapidly than expected, so this is the time to pull the emergency break.
So: As of tomorrow morning, 06.00 (6AM):
- 1,5m distance will again be the norm in hospitality sector, always with a seated location – both indoor and outdoors.
- Testing for entry will be suspended until Saturday August 14th. Instead, keeping distance will be the norm again.
- The hospitality sector will again have to close at midnight, and cannot open before 6 in the morning.
- Venues will not have any sort of entertainment, neither indoor nor outdoor. That means no screens, no live performances, etc. Background music is still permitted.
- Events spanning multiple days, providing overnight facilities, will not be possible until Augsust 14th.
- Seating will be mandatory for one-day-long events, to ensure 1,5m distance
- This means there will be no events without mandatory seating.
- Resulingly, the max capacity for venues and events will be around 1/3rd of the max capacity.
- Testing for entry will remain possible for events. In this case, it means that the 1,5m strictly can be let go of, but the mandatory seating stays. These venues can run at about 2/3rds of the max capacity.
- As of Tuesday July 13th, “testing for entry green passes’ will expire in 24 hours, rather than the current 40 hours
- Cultural and sports venues will see the same mandatory seating and 1,5m distance as for events.
These measures remain in place until August 14th. On August 13th, there will most likely be an update about the status at that point in time. If further measures are required any earlier, those will be announced on basis of urgency.
Announcing these measures might seem a diversion from the previous policy: Until now, the focus has been on making sure the health sector does not overflow and to protect the vulnerable. So far, this has been succesful, but we’re now at a crucial point in time. Some might argue the easings of two weeks ago were too early. Two weeks ago, however, the signs were very different from now. At that point in time, easings did seem possible and suitable within the predictions. The rise of the Delta-variety has however gone way, way faster than expected.
Even though Delta-Covid is currently mostly a problem for young adults, it is unavoidable that the virus will spread to others, being older people or more vulnerable neighbourhoods.
The risk of young people getting sick are small, but it is nevertheless an existing risk. Aside from long-Covid, youth can get rather sick of the virus. Not taking this step does mean an increase of pressure on the healthcare system, be it directly or indirectly. The pressure is not that high that it cannot be handled, but the previously postponed operations and hospital occupancy should also be taken into account when looking at the hospitals.
Briefly about travel now:
An increase in cases means there’s a risk when going abroad: not everyone might be as welcoming for people coming from the Netherlands in the light of Covid. Be therefore up to date about the rules that apply there where you go. Check the travel diagram I posted on Twitter – I’ll keep that one up to date!
Additionally, there’s an urgent call to get tested upon return to the Netherlands: If you’re under 27, book a test at the GGD – regardless of where you come from. If you’re over 27, do a self-test. It’s better to be safe than to be sorry.
Lastly, briefly about vaccinations.
By the end of next week, all adults (that want one) should have gotten their first jab, and within six weeks all adults (that want to) should be fully vaccinated – youth between 12 and 18 will follow within a month.
If you haven’t gotten vaccinated yet, here’s an urgent call: be informed about what and how, and – an urgent call from Mark Rutte, Hugo de Jonge and even also me: get vaccinated ASAP!
Currently, we see many outbreaks linked to specific clusters of outbreaks. Human behaviour is therefore key. So: Be cautious with borrels, BBQs or other drinks and small-scale events. Take your responsibility and do take precautions. Do keep that 1,5m distance, stay at home if you feel sick, and do quarantine if you’ve been in touch with someone who has Covid. Only if we all live up to this, we can have a nice and not-too-limited summer.
PS. This is a summary and translation of the press conference – not necessarily my personal opinion.