Room supports access tests, but unclear how long they are needed

A majority of the House of Representatives supports the government‘s bill to give people access to sports competitions, museums and theatres through tests. However, many parties continue to question the necessity of the proposal, the cost and the temporality of the law.

The House of Representatives has been talking about the law all day and night, with which the cabinet wants to reopen society more quickly. In principle, it is a temporary law that is valid for three months, but demissionary minister De Jonge van VWS could not give any guarantee that no extension is necessary.

He hopes that it will be possible to go to the theater or restaurant as soon as possible, especially since there are enough people vaccinated. Then the law will be superfluous. But if the infection rates rise again, or a new mutation emerges that the vaccine does not control, it may take longer to work with test evidence. The Young will have to return to the Chamber for permission.

Personal Freedom
There

are also many fundamental objections to the law in the Chamber. In order to participate in public life, healthy people have to undergo a test; according to various MPs, this runs counter to the personal freedom of people and the inviolability of their bodies.

But according to De Jonge, limiting freedom is not at the heart of the law. โ€œIt is precisely about lifting restrictions and restoring freedoms,โ€ he argued. The test obligation will only apply to things that he thinks are non-essential, activities that you can also go outside.

Cost much lower

Many questions were also there about the cost of the law. EUR 1.1 billion was originally budgeted, but the Minister does not think that money will be spent. When the budget was made, a price per test of around EUR 30 was still assumed. Meanwhile, the price has fallen to 15-20 euros. And there will be less testing than previously thought.

As a

result, De Jonge assumes that the law will cost a total of 500 to 700 million euros. It has not yet been taken into account that entrepreneurs will have less recourse to support schemes if they can reopen with the access tests, he said.

Free

The House of Representatives wants such a test to be free for people and that they do not have to pay their own contribution. The explanatory memorandum to the law states that in a few months’ time, in some cases, an own contribution of EUR 7.50 would have to be paid, but the Court is taking a line.

However, De Jonge would like to keep open the possibility of a personal contribution, for the moment that only major events, such as pop festivals, are needed. โ€œAt some point, such a profit principle makes sense. Otherwise, we will all have to contribute to the entertainment of a few.โ€

The House of Representatives is supposed to vote on the law next week. After that, the First Chamber still has to agree. Minister De Jonge said to expect that access tests can then be started from the beginning of June.