Corona pandemic | Netherlands

Restaurateurs rehearse the end of lockdown

Despite lockdowns, the gastronomy opened as a protest on Saturday in the Netherlands.
Despite lockdowns, the gastronomy opened as a protest on Saturday in the Netherlands.

Almost everywhere in the Netherlands, pub operators defied Corona regulations for a few hours on Saturday. Mostly by official consensus, they opened pubs, cafés and restaurants. In doing so, the landlords protested against the fact that their industry is excluded for the time being from the lifting of the week-long, nationwide lockdown.

In many places the unique action took place with agreement of the local authorities, reported the news agency ANP. Reactions among the public were positive, according to the report. "Reopening the catering trade in a controlled manner seems better to me than everyone having parties at home," it quoted a visitor to a student café in Zwolle as saying.

In Utrecht, Mayor Sharon Dijksma pledged to continue pushing for relaxations of corona regulations for restaurants. In the small town of Valkenburg, Mayor Daan Prevoo responded to a similar action already on Friday by classifying it as a permitted demonstration. "Demonstrating is a fundamental right," he told TV station WNL. Therefore, the police would not intervene.

Exception for gastronomy

After nearly four weeks, the government in The Hague - under heavy pressure from entrepreneurs - had partially lifted the strict Corona lockdown on Friday. Stores, hairdressers and sports clubs as well as universities have been allowed to reopen since Saturday. However, restaurants, museums, theaters and cinemas must remain closed. In view of dramatically increased infection figures, the lockdown cannot yet be ended everywhere, Prime Minister Mark Rutte explained. "Everything at once is not possible, the risk is too great." At the end of the month, he said, there may be further relaxations.