Dutch Health Minister Ernst Kuipers has announced that the country will eliminate the majority of national COVID-19 restrictions by February 25.
According to the minister, such a decision was made as the number of infections and hospitalizations decreased significantly within the country over the past few weeks, TheSchengen.com reports.
Speaking at a press conference in The Hague, Kuipers told reporters that the country will open again with the assurance that business hours will return to normal, as they were during the pre-pandemic period.
This means that all public places, including bars, restaurants, theaters and cinemas, as well as other places, will be able to operate without any restrictions on their capacity or hours.
In addition, the minister also announced that the requirement to maintain a face mask and social distancing rules will not be mandatory when attending the majority of venues.
“Keeping your distance and wearing a mask is reasonable, but there is no obligation,” the minister said.
However, it has been clarified that these two conditions will remain in place when going to airports or any other form of public transportation.
In addition, the Minister advised everyone, especially the citizens at risk, to continue and follow the ground rules as the COVID-19 pandemic is not over yet.
Although the Netherlands has announced plans to ease its national restrictions related to the COVID-19 virus, the country still maintains entry rules.
Travelers from all EU/Schengen area countries can enter the Netherlands without restrictions provided they show evidence of vaccination, proof of recovery or a negative COVID-19 test result.
On the other hand, travelers from third countries need to follow additional entry rules, depending on the country they are traveling from.
However, the authorities highlighted that since February 2, all people, including travelers from other countries, who received the booster dose will be subject to less stringent entry rules.
And the authorities emphasized: “Please note: As of February 2, 2022, people who have received the booster vaccination at least seven days before traveling to the Netherlands, are not required to self-quarantine upon arrival.”
World Health Organization (WHO) data shows that the Netherlands recorded 833,652 new cases of COVID-19 in the past seven days.
As for vaccination rates, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reveals that so far, the Netherlands has provided a total of 3,3782,608 vaccine doses. This means that 82.6 percent of the total adult population have completed the initial vaccination, while 63.0 percent have received an additional dose of vaccine.