The outgoing cabinet wants to enable the controversial 2G system, in which only people who have been vaccinated or recovered can access in the hospitality industry, the culture sector, at events and non-essential services, such as amusement parks, massage parlors and tanning salons. This is stated in a bill that was sent to the House of Representatives. The measure is not going to apply in stores and hardware stores.
The explanatory note to the bill states that 2G should only be introduced in situations where 3G, where negatively tested people also have access, is not a solace. It is highly unlikely that the system will be introduced into theatres with fixed seats or in contact professions such as the hairdresser. No 2G admission ticket will be requested in education, nor will the system be used to access the workplace.
In order to make 2G possible, the law had to be changed, and that proposal now lies with the House of Representatives. It says that the system can only be used in places where there is a high risk of spreading the virus, such as in places where people don‘t have a seat or where keeping distance is difficult. It can also only be applied if the infection rates are high, at the levels’ worrisome ‘and ‘serious‘. At the moment, the level of ‘serious‘ applies to the Netherlands.
Vaccination urge no goal
According to Minister De Jonge, who sent the proposal to the House, the law has no purpose to vaccinate, but it can be a side effect. It also looks at a time whether 2G will apply to an entire sector, or whether there are exceptions. For people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, the law does not apply at all. There is still a look at how they can access 2G locations.
In the view of the cabinet, 2G is a means of protecting unvaccinated people from contamination. Because they are no longer allowed to get to locations where many people come together, they are less likely to have an infection. And it is the unvaccinated who are currently putting a disproportionately high pressure on care, as they are generally more at risk of a serious course of the disease.
The 2G policy, if it is up to the outgoing cabinet, should be the follow-up to the measures that now apply, such as the face masks and the closing of the hospitality industry and shops earlier. That current package has little effect for the time being, as it turned out today. Prime Minister Rutte and Minister De Jonge therefore called on everyone to follow the rules again, because otherwise stricter measures will come into the picture again.
Still across the Chamber this week?
The cabinet actually wants to have the urgent act to introduce 2G be treated by the House of Representatives this week, but it is very questionable whether that happens. Several parties believe that they cannot form a good judgment in such a short term. In addition, there are two other emergency bills, which make it possible to make the 3G corona admission certificate mandatory in education and in the workplace.
In addition, there is a lot of opposition to the 2G system in the Chamber. The Christian Union, which is also co-negotiating a new cabinet, has fundamental objections because, according to that party, it increases polarization in society. At the moment, only VVD and D66 have pledged support. If the House of Representatives still agrees, the bill must also pass the Senate.
Critical Council of State
The Council of State is critical of the proposal. For example, the government’s main advisory body believes that the law has not been sufficiently clarified when exactly 2G applies and when 3G. There is also too little attention to the enforcement of the rules. However, the Council of State finds the use of 2G “justifying”.
The council also criticizes the plan to enable a 3G admission ticket in the workplace. The bill leaves that choice to the employer, but that can lead to conflicts in the workplace, thinks the Council of State. That choice should just be made in law.