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Mar 24 2020

Stricter measures to control coronavirus

Brunssum, the Netherlands, March 24th 2020

On Monday 23 March the government introduced additional measures to combat the coronavirus outbreak. Prime Minister Mark Rutte, justice and security minister Ferd Grapperhaus, health minister Hugo de Jonge and medical care minister Martin van Rijn announced the measures at a press conference. The measures are based on the advice of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM).

The new and stricter measures are as follows:

- Stay home as much as possible. Leave the house only to go to work if you cannot work at home, to buy groceries or to take care of others. You can go out to get some fresh air, but do not do so in groups. Always keep a good distance from other people (at least 1.5 metres) and avoid all social activities and groups of people. At home: limit the number of visitors to 3 and keep sufficient distance (1.5m) from each other.

- As before, if you have a cough or a cold: stay home. If someone in your household develops a fever, all the members of the household should stay home. This does not apply to key workers in crucial sectors and critical processes, unless they themselves get sick.

- All gatherings are prohibited until 1 June, even gatherings of less than 100 people. This is a tightening of the existing ban (that applied up to 6 April). An exception is made for funerals and religious weddings. More information about this will follow soon.

- Public transport and shops are required to take measures to ensure that people keep a good distance. For instance, by limiting the number of people allowed in the shop at the same time.

- Businesses in contact-based industries, such as hair salons and beauty parlours, must be closed until 6 April. Other professionals, such as physiotherapists, are urged to work via video calls wherever possible.

- Casinos are now subject to the same restrictions as establishments serving food and drink, and will be closed from 24 March 2020.

- Establishments such as holiday parks must put measures in place so that people keep a distance of 1.5 metres from each other. Failing this, local authorities may order these locations to close.

- Mayors may designate areas, like parks, beaches or neighbourhoods, where people are not allowed to collect together. The authorities will take action against groups of 3 or more people, who do not all maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from each other. This does not apply to children or to people in the same household, such as families.

- The ban on gatherings does not apply to public markets as these play a crucial role in bringing food to consumers in some parts of the country. Municipalities and market superintendents will examine ways that a good distance between members of the public can be maintained.

- The government also wants to be able to enforce existing measures more effectively. Mayors will have the option of enacting an emergency bye-law, to more easily and more quickly initiate enforcement activities. Mayors can also order specific locations to be closed, including parks, beaches and campsites. And people who violate the rules can be fined.

- Fines for not following this restrictions are up to 400 euro for persons and 4000 euro for companies.

Previously published measures remain in force. For more information, read about the approach to tackling coronavirus in the Netherlands.

The measures are in keeping with the Netherlands’ approach, which is to make sure that the healthcare system is able to cope and has enough capacity to help the people who need it most. This approach and the measures are based on the advice of the Outbreak Management Team. This is a group of experts chaired by Jaap van Dissel, director of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM).

Story by JFC Brunssum Public Affairs Office

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