The Netherlands eases sanitary measures but catering, culture and events remain closed

However, several sectors remain closed: catering, culture and the event sector.

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Lhe Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, announced Friday evening the relaxation of certain anti-covid 19 restrictions, among the most restrictive in Europe, by authorizing shops, sports halls, hairdressers and sex shops to reopen. Bars, restaurants, cafes and cultural establishments will remain closed until at least January 25.

Mr Rutte said the easing of constraints was a “great moment” for the Netherlands, which spent Christmas and the New Year in lockdown, with restrictions tightened on December 19.

Shops can open until 5 p.m. from Saturday, as can sports clubs and higher education.

Schools reopened on January 10.

New Health Minister Ernst Kuipers said the government had decided to ease restrictions due to declining 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 against these new contaminations which could soon, according to him, reach 75,000 or 80,000 per day in the Netherlands.

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