Following a new wave of cases of Covid-19, the Netherlands has entered a period of lockdown that will last over the Christmas period and New Year in an attempt to halt any further spread of the virus. Here’s all you need to know about what the lockdown entails, and what this might mean for travelers.
Covid-19 in the Netherlands
Throughout the pandemic, the Netherlands seemed to be in control of the spread of the virus. The daily number of cases stayed below the 1,500 milestone for the first 6 months of the pandemic, following social distancing rules, the closure of many types of business and other restrictions. Once the curve appeared to have been flattened, restrictions were loosened and life seemed to have gained a sense of normality compared to most places.
However, the last three months has seen the Netherlands hit with a strong second wave, and their case levels have skyrocketed as a result. September saw further restrictions imposed by the government, but with little effect. The last week alone has seen more than 50,000 cases reported and more than 300 deaths, taking the total number of cases up to 621,944 and the total number of deaths to 10,082.
With the situation become graver by the day, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte imposed the latest and toughest lockdown yet in the country. Speaking from his office in The Hague on Monday, protestors could be heard blowing whistles and banging pots outside in disagreement with what he was about to put into motion.
To curb the spread of the virus, the government has ordered that all non-essential shops are to close on Tuesday until January 19th. In addition, gyms, hairdressers, cinemas, day-care centres and theatres too are closed, whilst schools and universities will pivot towards online learning instead of in-class learning. Establishments serving food are also to close, but supermarkets, butchers and bakeries are permitted to remain open.
Referring to those making noise whilst he was delivering his address, Rutte reaffirmed the seriousness of the virus, saying that it isn’t an innocent flu-like some believe it to be.
Stay at Home
As well as closing different types of businesses down, the Netherlands government is also pleading with its citizens to remain home as much as possible. Those who are able to work from home should do so, whilst only going into work when absolutely necessary.
The Dutch have also been given advice regarding who can visit their households during the lockdown. The government has advised that people should not receive more than two guests over the age of 13 into their homes per day, in order to lessen person-to-person contact and limit any chances of spread the virus further. These recommendations have been relaxed over Christmas, where the number of guests you can welcome into your home over the age of 13 has been increased to 3 on the 24th, 25th and 26th of December.
What Does This Mean For Travelers?
Those thinking of visiting the Netherlands may want to rethink their itineraries, as the situation in the country has significantly worsened and there’ll be little to do in the country as a result.
As part of the lockdown, Dutch travelers have been advised not to travel internationally until mid-March at the earliest, unless absolutely necessary.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories