Cabinet finally puts a stop to multi-day festivals, mandatory test when returning from ‘yellow’ country

Festival-goers at Lowlands in 2018.Image ANP Kippa

“Unfortunately, I do say,” said outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte in an explanation. “We are doing this now because we had to give clarity to festivals and unfortunately it is not responsible to let this go on.”

Although the number of infections has been falling in recent days, the cabinet considers the risk too great. Initially, the cabinet only wanted to announce in the second week of August whether the major festivals could still take place after that, but it has now decided to give the organizers clarity earlier. The biggest festivals affected include Lowlands, Down the rabbit hole and Mysteryland.

Organizers of one-day festivals will have to wait until August 13 for clarity, when another corona press conference is held.

The biggest festivals affected include Lowlands, Down The Rabbit Hole and Mysteryland. Organizers of one-day festivals will have to wait until August for clarity.

Test before return

It is one of the decisions taken by the cabinet on Monday, after new consultations. Another is that holidaymakers who have not been fully vaccinated and who return from countries that now turn yellow on the corona map, must prove that they are corona-free from 8 August before their return trip to the Netherlands. The rule already applies to people coming from Spain, Portugal, Cyprus or Andorra. It concerns everyone from 12 years old. People who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from corona do not have to take a test, but can use the CoronaCheck app.

For many children who have not yet been vaccinated, they must therefore look for a PCR or antigen test that they can do before they make the return journey. The cabinet warns that people with their own transport can also be checked. No measures apply to travelers from a country with a green travel advice.

“That is a tightening of the policy,” acknowledged Minister Hugo de Jonge. “We want to prevent people from taking the infection home. We will really have to test to ensure that we can prevent the next wave in the autumn.”

According to De Jonge, samples are taken at border crossings by ‘mobile teams’. Someone who is caught will be fined 95 euros, but ‘may continue to drive afterwards’.

All travelers who return from Spain, Portugal, Cyprus or Andorra before August 8 must also show corona proof until that time.

Outgoing Mark Rutte spoke of ‘good news’ that the number of infections is falling. “In the hospitals it is still rising a bit, it will remain that way for a few more days, but it seems manageable. But it is still exciting.”

Amendment

The Netherlands is also adapting the approach to travel within the European Union, when it comes to the color codes green, yellow, orange and red. The cabinet has actually wanted to look not only at the contamination figures to determine that color, but also at the pressure on healthcare. In this way, countries do not have to go orange so quickly, with all the consequences that entails, such as quarantine obligations.

From July 27, the Netherlands will therefore no longer provide orange travel advice to other EU countries ‘only based on the number of corona infections’. A country can still receive orange travel advice if a new virus variant appears. De facto this means that from Tuesday all EU countries will go green or yellow.

A trip to an orange country is still discouraged, but according to the new standard this does not apply to any EU country at the moment. It is still possible that countries impose additional requirements on Dutch citizens, after all, that is what countries are about themselves.

Duty

Minister Hugo de Jonge repeated that the cabinet does not want a vaccination obligation. “I don’t see that happening in this country, I’d like to leave the discussion about it that is being held in France, for example.” Rutte said he thinks the vaccination rate in our country is relatively high precisely ‘because we don’t preach like a pastor’.

Cabinet decisions:

– The Netherlands is adjusting its approach with color codes for countries. Our country is going to look at more than just infection figures. That means that all EU countries will go green or yellow tomorrow, so that travel is no longer discouraged at the moment. A country can still receive orange travel advice if a new virus variant appears.

– Holidaymakers returning from countries that now color yellow on the corona card and are not fully vaccinated, must demonstrate that they are corona-free from 8 August before returning to the Netherlands. It concerns everyone from 12 years old. People who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from corona do not need to take a test, but can use the CoronaCheck app. For many children who have not yet been vaccinated, they must therefore look for a PCR or antigen test that they can do before they make the return journey.

– Multi-day festivals are not allowed to continue this summer. Such festivals are already banned until the beginning of August, but the cabinet is extending the ban for festivals with a campsite until September 1.

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