Daily US Times: As the Netherlands introduces a range of measures to control a second coronavirus wave, many residents in the country will, for the first time, be advised to wear a face mask in shops as the country.
Compared to its neighbours, the country had largely avoided strict restrictions until now.
Nearly 3,000 infections daily are being recorded this week in a nation of 17 million people.
The new restrictions will start on Tuesday and last for at least three weeks.
On Monday, Health Minister Hugo de Jong admitted: “We are doing our best, but the virus is doing better.”
In a televised press conference, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte explained that the situation in the country’s three largest cities – Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam – had become “serious” and required urgent action.
People should avoid non-essential travel between the three cities from Tuesday, he said.
Bars and restaurants will be required to close by 22:00 – a move that echoes other European countries, including the UK, France and Spain which have introduced similar earlier closing times.
Social gatherings inside people’s homes must not exceed three people, people will be advised to work from home and fans will no longer be allowed to attend sports events.
Mask-wearing was already compulsory on public transport, but the government of the Netherlands had so far avoided suggesting customers wear one inside shops.
The new measures advise that shoppers in the three largest cities should wear face masks from Tuesday. Shops will be allowed to deny entry to those who do not wear a mask.
The prime minister of the said: “Naturally these measures will have negative economic consequences.”
“But allowing the virus to flare up would have even bigger consequences, including damage to the economy,” he added.
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