Corona: Netherlands abolish distance rule | Currently Europe | DW

After around 18 months, the Netherlands is taking a big step back to normal in the corona pandemic. The mandatory safety distance of 1.5 meters will be abolished from September 25, announced Prime Minister Mark Rutte in The Hague. At the same time, a so-called Corona pass will be introduced for restaurants, sporting events and culture. Visitors must provide evidence that they have been vaccinated, tested, or recovered.

The right-wing liberal prime minister continued to urge caution. “This is not the day when everything will be the same as it was before Corona, there are still too many infections for that and too many people are being admitted to hospitals.” The uncertainty about the development in autumn remains high.

The Hague relies on the Corona Pass

The incidence is around 100 new infections per 100,000 population in seven days and has fallen slightly in the past week. The situation in hospitals also improved slightly, but remains tense. According to the authorities, schools are now major sources of infection.

Many measures remain in place, including the mask requirement for buses, trains, trains and at airports. Discos and clubs are allowed to reopen, but like all other restaurants they have to close at midnight. By repealing the 1.5 meter rule, more visitors can be admitted to concerts, in theaters, but also in restaurants and cafés – but only with the Corona Pass. For the first time, football matches have been allowed in full stadiums since spring 2020.

The introduction of the corona pass is particularly controversial for restaurants because the controls are not feasible and too expensive for the hosts. But the government hopes to increase the vaccination rate through the Corona pass. About 63 percent of the Dutch are currently vaccinated.

German federal states are sharpening

Meanwhile, the corona rules are being tightened in more and more German federal states. Hesse, Saxony-Anhalt, Berlin, Brandenburg and Saxony want to open up new opportunities for operators and event organizers with the 2G rule. If only vaccinated and convalescent people can have access to indoor spaces, but not those who tested negative, requirements should also be waived. Then the mask requirement, distance rules and capacity restrictions can be dispensed with.

Hesse’s Prime Minister Volker Bouffier (CDU) said in Wiesbaden that Corona was increasingly developing into a pandemic for the unvaccinated.

rb / kle (AFP, dpa)

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