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Answers to your questions about the masking obligation | NOW

The Netherlands has a duty to mask masks since Tuesday. This means that wearing a non-medical face mask is mandatory in various places, such as in shops and at the hairdresser. In this article we answer the most frequently asked questions that came in on our response platform NUjij.

“Is it also mandatory in covered shopping centers? That seems to me, but I usually see people walking out of the store and taking it off, while they are still in a public space.”

Wearing a face mask is mandatory from Tuesday in all covered public places. Covered shopping centers are also included. This means that you should not take off your mouth mask between visits to shops.

At outdoor shopping centers, for example a shopping street, you are only obliged to wear a face mask in the shops. But the government advises you to also wear a mouth mask outside while shopping. The mouth mask can be removed according to the advice as soon as you no longer enter a store. In this way you touch the mouth cap as little as possible.

“What about in the gym? I heard that you have to wear a face mask to the locker room. And when you start exercising, it is no longer necessary.”

Both indoors and outdoors there is no obligation to wear a mouth mask during sports. In the gym you are supposed to wear a mouth mask when you enter the building or are in the locker room, for example.

“I do not understand the exception for places of worship. Can anyone explain that to me? Freedom of religion does not seem to me to be decisive in this regard, because you also have freedom of association, et cetera.”

The masking obligation only applies in buildings that are freely accessible to everyone. Churches, mosques, temples and synagogues are enclosed buildings. Other examples of this are offices and club buildings. At a scouting association, there is therefore no obligation to make masks within, but masks can be recommended or required by the association. The obligation does not apply in healthcare institutions, but medical guidelines and other measures do apply there.

“Why is there an obligation at a station? A station is an open space with lots of fresh air, isn’t it?”

Wearing masks was previously mandatory in public transport. It has now been decided that the obligation also applies at stations, on platforms and at bus and tram stops. The government sees partially covered locations as indoor spaces. Since stations are freely accessible, there is a duty to mask.

When am I exempted from the masking obligation for medical reasons? “

In principle, the obligation applies to all Dutch citizens aged thirteen and older. People who cannot wear a face mask due to their disability or illness do not have to wear one. This also includes people who, for example, are dependent on lip reading or who can become seriously disrupted because of a mental illness. If necessary, an exception applies to their supervisors.

How do I prove that I don’t have to wear a face mask? “

You can demonstrate that you have a disability in various ways. For example, you can show a note from a practitioner, show an aid or relevant medicines or have a loved one call. Public transport employees, retailers, agents or boas can check this. They may fine or dismiss people who are unable or unwilling to show evidence. The cabinet has asked them “to deal reasonably with this group of people”.

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