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The corona crisis: where are we now?

Friday 11 June 2021

It will not have escaped your notice that life is gradually starting to look like it did before the Covid-19 pandemic. The terraces are full again, most sports are allowed and some people are going back to the office for a few days a week. In short, the measures are slowly being relaxed and more and more things are possible and allowed again. 

But what exactly is allowed at the moment and what is not? And what are the expectations for the upcoming summer? In this article we will give you a clear overview of these topics so you can live by the rules but still have a nice and fun summer! 

The current situation 

At the moment things seem to be going better with the spread of the virus. Also the numbers of people getting infected and people that have to go to the hospital are looking hopeful. But how well are things really going regarding the Covid-19 virus? 

The statistics 

The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (in Dutch: Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu (RIVM)) shows a clear graph on their website of how the corona numbers are doing. They keep track of how many positive tested people there are and how many more are added each week. If you look at the graph, you can see that after a spike in October, a spike in December and another increase in March and April, we are finally moving in the right direction. The numbers have been dropping since April and they are still going down for now!

The opening plan

Because of these positive numbers, the government has put together an opening plan: so people can look forward to easing up and know where they stand. With this opening plan, the cabinet outlines what steps will be taken and when, in order to steadily "open up" society again. This plan is subject to change, though: if the hospitals get busier again, then planned relaxations will have to be postponed. But if the number of patients in the hospitals is doing well, then the relaxations may even kick in sooner!

The ground rules

Despite these relaxations, according to the government and the RIVM it is still extremely important that we continue to adhere to the ground rules. These include disinfecting or washing your hands, the one and a half meter distance rule and having yourself tested in case of complaints. Also, in many places, such as public transport and stores, a mouth mask is still mandatory.

These basic rules will remain in place for the time being. Until the virus has been completely eradicated, people can still infect each other. This even applies to people who have already been vaccinated. They can no longer get the virus, but can still pass it on and make other people sick who have not yet been vaccinated. 

Overview of modified or relaxed measures

As of June 5th, the government has put into effect the third step of the opening plan. Almost all types of facilities are now open, but under clear conditions. Also, you may again host up to four people at home. See below for an overview of all adjusted or relaxed measures.

Hospitality

First of all, the catering industry is open again! For many people this was a step they greatly looked forward to. The catering industry may be open between six in the morning and ten in the evening with a maximum of fifty people in a room. However, there is a rule that there is a maximum of four people per table, provided they are all from the same household. Finally, reservations and a health check are required.

Sports

The possibilities for sports have also been expanded. Sports in groups is now allowed again and also a distance of one and a half meters is no longer required with practicing sports. Some team sports are therefore possible again, which also makes a lot of people very happy!

Stores 

You can also go shopping without having to make an appointment or order online. You can 'just' buy your clothes in a store! The only rules that still apply are the ground rules, such as wearing a mouth mask, disinfecting your hands and keeping a distance of 1.5 meters. Furthermore, all stores are open as usual and according to regular hours.

Culture and recreation

Finally, culture and recreation is of course an important part of society. For culture, all cultural locations such as museums, monuments, cinemas, concert halls and theaters may reopen. This is subject to conditions such as that, as in the hospitality industry, reservations must be made and a health check must take place and only a maximum number of people may be present. The same applies to recreational locations such as amusement parks and zoos as well as saunas, wellness centers and tanning salons.

The prospect 

Finally, you are naturally wondering what the outlook is for the coming months. And perhaps even more important: the prospects for the summer period. Fortunately, I can tell you that the forecasts are looking good.

This is mainly due to the fact that more and more vaccinations have been issued. On June 8th this year, there were already 10.2 million people vaccinated! This is going in the right direction and there are also less and less corona patients in the hospitals and intensive care units and less and less positive tests. 

Step 4 of the opening plan

The next step of the opening plan is therefore scheduled for June 30th, 2021. The maximum group size and the maximum number of people to visit will then go up to 8 people and further expansions in hospitality, culture and sports will follow according to the plan. Finally, according to this step of the plan, more will be possible with admission tickets: with these you will be able to show that your test result is negative. 

With this, life becomes a little more loose every time. By means of the admission tickets, people would even be able to go out again in clubs or the pub! However, the ground rules will remain until the last step of the plan, and no date has yet been set for removing these. So this 'step 5' of the plan is still some time away, and until then it is important that we still wear our mouth masks, keep our distance and wash or disinfect our hands.

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