Going out for dinner in a restaurant: showing corona proof. A drink on the terrace: corona proof. To the theater or cinema: corona proof.
The fight against the covid crisis is entering a new phase. From Saturday 25 September, a corona pass is required for everyone from 13 years old for access to catering and cultural institutions. According to sources in The Hague, part of the cabinet, including Prime Minister Mark Rutte and health minister Hugo de Jonge, agreed this on Sunday in the Catshuis. The details will be announced during a press conference on Tuesday evening.
At the beginning of this month, De Jonge hinted that it may be necessary to require such proof in busy places. He pointed to the number of 1.8 million Dutch people who have not (yet) been fully vaccinated. As a result, the virus continues to circulate and healthcare could become overloaded again this autumn.
A corona proof means that someone must have been vaccinated, or recovered from the virus or recently tested negative. Part of public life will therefore only be accessible via a QR code on the telephone.
Time to mark
The cabinet thinks this is the only way to make that other important decision: letting go of the one and a half meter measure. From September 25, the obligation to keep distance from each other will disappear everywhere. In practice, part of the population has already said goodbye to this measure; yet this is a time to mark. The one and a half meter society has become a household name. The distance measure immediately made clear how serious the crisis was when it was introduced in the spring of 2020. Van Dale named it word of the year.
This spring, Minister De Jonge said he was hopeful that almost all restrictive corona measures could disappear this month, including the obligation to face masks. That hope turns out to be in vain. The cabinet will probably announce on Tuesday evening that face masks in public transport will remain mandatory for the time being. It is expected that it will become increasingly crowded on the trains, metros and trams, especially now that more people are going to work in the office. Soon they will be ‘like herring in a barrel’ in public transport again, said Minister De Jonge last Friday. He wants to prevent travelers from running unnecessary risks there. “I think people with a weak immune response – who have been vaccinated, but who may not be as successful – are not so happy about being stuck up against someone who is ‘aerosoling’ their necks all the time.”
The Outbreak Management Team (OMT), the group of scientists that advises on corona policy, has advised the cabinet to introduce the corona evidence widely. For example, no exceptions are made for terraces, because enforcement then becomes complicated.
Gloomy news for nightlife
Night catering can expect gloomy news on Tuesday. The cabinet maintains the position that cafes and discos should remain closed between 00:00 and 06:00. It is not yet clear to what extent there will be more space for large-scale events. The cabinet will discuss this further on Monday.
Mandating a corona certificate is extremely sensitive. Now this is only requested at larger events and for access to aircraft. The corona pass will soon become an important instrument to be able to continue going out.
Critics, including in the House of Representatives, believe that the cabinet forces people to be vaccinated in this way. A dichotomy threatens to arise between those who have had themselves vaccinated and those who do not for religious or other (principal) reasons. The cabinet denies that this danger exists, because catering and cultural institutions can also be visited with a negative test certificate.
Initially, De Jonge intended to make people pay for these tests, but he has reneged on this because of the great resistance. These test certificates will remain free for the foreseeable future.
The cabinet no longer waits for a higher vaccination rate and continues relaxation
The turnout for vaccination is creeping up slowly. The cabinet will not wait to abolish the one and a half meters until more people have crossed the line.