Netherlands to close schools, restaurants in coronavirus fight | THE DAILY HERALD

Coffeeshops, restaurants and cafes in the Netherlands were ordered closed from today, Monday, March 16. Clients of a coffeeshop in The Hague were waiting in line trying to stock up on weed on Sunday. (Facebook photo).

AMSTERDAM–All Dutch schools, cafes, restaurants and sport clubs were ordered on Sunday to be closed as the government sought to prevent the further spread of coronavirus COVID-19 in the Netherlands.

The step came as the number of confirmed coronavirus infections in the country rose by 176 to 1,135, with 20 deaths, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment RIVM said. The restrictions will remain in place until at least April 6, Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Arie Slob said in a press conference.

“It has become clear that it was impossible for many schools to remain open, as many teachers were already sick at home and because of safety risks,” he said, according to Reuters. “Therefore, we have decided to close all schools and day care centres.”

The Dutch Government asked the country’s 17 million residents to keep their distance when leaving the house. “Do not hoard, it’s not necessary there is enough to go around,” Slob said.

All saunas, sex clubs, sport schools and marijuana coffee shops were also ordered to close at 6:00pm Sunday.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s cabinet had initially resisted closing schools, but changed course after coming under pressure from educators and medical specialists.

A letter sent to parents in Amsterdam said Dutch medical professionals had recommended schools be closed and plans were being drawn up in the event the closures would last longer.

Minister of Medical Care and Sport Bruno Bruins said additional measures were likely. “I am certain these will not be our last measures. The situation keeps developing very rapidly and we will keep deciding on further measures based on the knowledge of experts. I cannot speculate on what measures these will be, but it is clear that more will follow.”

Rutte was scheduled to address the nation tonight, Monday evening, to explain the unprecedented measures.

The Red Light District in Amsterdam draws millions of visitors to erotic dance shows, adult clubs and brothels, where prostitutes pose in lingerie behind red-lit windows.

The Casa Rosso, Peepshow, Banana Bar and Erotic Museum were among adult entertainment venues along the capital’s old canals that said they would shut.

“In the interest of the health of staff and guests, the management no longer considers it responsible to stay open,” said a statement by the Otten Group, a company that runs a number of the clubs, Amsterdam’s Het Parool newspaper reported.

Source: The Daily Herald