The Netherlands will ease its anti-Covid health restrictions, among the most restrictive in Europe, by authorizing shops, gyms, hairdressers and sex shops to reopen, Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced on Friday January 14.
Shops can open until 5 p.m. from Saturday, as can sports clubs and higher education. Schools reopened on January 10.
Bars, restaurants, cafes and cultural establishments will remain closed at least until January 25, the Prime Minister added during a press conference.
Decline in hospitalizations
Mr Rutte considered that the easing of constraints was a “awesome time” for the Netherlands, which spent Christmas and the New Year in lockdown, with restrictions tightened on December 19.
The new health minister, Ernst Kuipers, said the government had decided to ease the restrictions due to the drop in hospitalizations despite a wave of infections with the Omicron variant.
Mr Rutte, however, explained that it was too early to reopen bars and other catering establishments, warning of new infections which he said could soon reach 75,000 or 80,000 a day in the Netherlands.