The mayors of the four major cities react disappointed to the news that the demissionary cabinet does not want to relax the corona measures by 21 April, but only the week after that (if the contamination figures allow). In a joint statement they once again urge the cabinet to reopen the terraces, among other things.
“ In the densely populated areas, residents desperately need the outdoor space”, say the mayors Halsema (Amsterdam), Dijksma (Utrecht), Aboutaleb (Rotterdam) and Van Zanen (The Hague). “They also appropriate them when the weather gets better. This makes enforcement unfeasible and the local authority is unintentionally confronted with its own inhabitants. It is precisely in order to prevent contamination by irregular meetings and to ensure the credibility of the coronation policy that controlled opening-up of the outdoor spaces is necessary.”
Tensions between local and central authorities continue to increase, concludes Nieuwsuur-reporter Nynke de Zoeten:
the beginning of this month, the four mayors called for a quick opening of the terraces, in order to better spread the bustle of the city in good weather. “It is no longer possible to explain that people will sit on a dress with a bottle of rosé on the grass at Hotel New York, but that the catering industry should not open the terraces,” said the Rotterdam-based mayor Aboutaleb.
By the way, simplifications have never been officially announced on 21 April. The fact that the cabinet was considering reopening the terraces and shops was a drained plan that was not yet established. On Friday, Minister De Jonge already tempered expectations. A cabinet spokesman now says that it is still too early for easing, because the peak in the number of infections has not yet been.
Today, the RIVM reported 8288 new coronavirus infections, the highest number in two weeks. In hospitals, the occupation is still high: there are currently 2517 people with corona in the hospital, 788 of whom are in the ICU.
The Cabinet has always referred to reducing pressure on care as an important argument for corona measures. Hospitals were therefore astonished this week when it leaked out that the Cabinet was considering easing. Now theyre relieved. “This is hard for many people who had expected or hoped for easing,” says Ad Melkert, chairman of the Dutch Association of Hospitals. “But its also very necessary, because its all hands on deck in the hospitals.”
Melkert fears that there will be a few more critical weeks before it can be relaxed:
Yet it rains disappointed reactions to the postponement of the easing. Koninklijke Horeca Nederland (KHN) calls it “a tough blow in the face of hospitality entrepreneurs”. A spokesman emphasises that public health is also in one place among hospitality entrepreneurs, but that the hospitality industry can be safely and responsibly open.
“ It would be an interesting option to open the terraces not on April 28, but on April 27,” says Pieter Verhoeve, chairman of the Royal Association of Orange. “Kings Day is a day off, and many are looking for a meaningful use of it.”
Also for retailers the disappointment is great, says Udo Delfgou of industry association InRetail. “Especially because there was hope. The messages about shopping facilitation aroused expectations.”
On Twitter, some people feel happy to be made with a dead sparrow:
The postponement of the simplifications initially left colleges and universities in confusion. They would be allowed to give physical education one day a week from 26 April onwards. The Association of Hogescholen finds out whether the postponement applies to them, but for the time being assumes that the opening date of 26 April can continue. “We are already partially open, for practical education and reviews, and of course we teach online,” says a spokesman.
The National Studentenunion (LSvB) says that it is unacceptable to keep the colleges and universities closed even longer. President Lyle Muns wants the Cabinet to keep its promise. “The rapid tests are ready to be distributed. Its the faster the better, because the school year is coming to an end. At some point its summer vacation and then it doesnt make sense anymore.”
Previously, the demissionary cabinet also considered easing, which subsequently did not go through because of the increasing levels of contamination. At the beginning of last month, Prime Minister Rutte hinted at the reopening of the terraces on 31 March, but because of disappointing figures it did not happen.