Mandatory mouth masking did not lead to less crowding on the streets

Last month’s requirement to wear a mouth mask in parts of Rotterdam and Amsterdam did not result in people on the street keeping more distance or being less busy. A deterrent effect was taken into account, but a study by the Netherlands Crime and Law Enforcement Study Centre (NSCR) shows that this was not the case.

A mouth shield also did not give people a sense of false security, bringing them closer together. “The researchers say: “It’s the space in the street in particular that determines whether people comply with the other half meter rule.

In busy and cramped places in both cities, a mouth mask was compulsory from 5 to 31 August. The security regions wanted to do something about the rapid increase in the number of infections in Rotterdam and Amsterdam. The NSCR did not investigate whether the mouth caps helped.

The investigation also shows that the mouthguard obligation was well complied with. Most people also wore the mouthguard properly.

Industry does not believe research

Branch organisation for retailers INretail has serious doubts about the results of the study. In a written response, it is stated: “We fully support that mouth masks will not be reintroduced”.

“But no one can claim with dry eyes that the introduction of mouth masks had no effect on visitor numbers. Entrepreneurs saw their sales plummet precisely because the streets remained empty”

Experiment against stricter measures

The oral cap requirement in Rotterdam and Amsterdam was an experiment to prevent more drastic measures such as closing off shopping streets or limiting catering times. Shopkeepers feared that customers would stay away en masse if they had to wear a mouthcap, but the mouthcap obligation appears to have had no effect on the crowds.

The safety regions of Amsterdam-Amstelland and Rotterdam-Rijnmond say that a mouth shield is an additional useful tool that can be used in certain circumstances.