Amsterdam, 21 April 2021 (dpa/MIA) – The Dutch government plans to ease measures to restrict the spread of Covid-19 at the end of the month, the prime minister said on Tuesday, despite persistently high case numbers.
Four months after a strict lockdown was imposed, the evening curfew is to be lifted and shops and cafes with open-air terraces are to reopen, accompanied by protective measures, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in The Hague.
“We dare to take the risk of taking the first cautious step on April 28,” Rutte added.
He acknowledged that easing measures was risky given the rising numbers. However, he said forecasts were cautiously optimistic.
According to the new measures, the curfew imposed in January is to be lifted completely.
Eating outdoors on terraces is to be permitted, but only between midday and 6 pm, with limited guest numbers. Mayors had called for terraces to be reopened, as parks are often overcrowded when the weather is warm.
Stores are also to reopen on April 28, and shoppers will not need to make appointments in advance.
Dutch people will also be able to welcome two visitors to their homes instead of just one.
Meanwhile, nearly 54,000 new cases were registered during the past seven days, about 5.3 per cent more than the week before.
With around 280 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants over a seven-day period, the incidence rate is high.
“The epidemic’s pressure on hospitals, health departments and other services such as family doctors continues unabated,” the National Institute for Health and the Environment (RIVM) said.