Step 2: Indoor sports facilities to reopen and more scope for activities outdoors
The number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals has fallen slightly. And, with more than 6 million vaccine doses administered, the number of vaccinated people is growing steadily. The government expects the number of new hospital admissions to fall more rapidly from now on. So it intends to take the second step of the reopening plan on 19 May.
Whether this goes ahead depends on the number of new ICU and hospital admissions on 17 May. This figure must have fallen by around 20% compared to the peak at the end of April. If this is not the case, the government will pause the reopening plan and postpone the second step.
It’s still important that everyone keeps following the basic rules, even people who have been vaccinated. This means avoiding busy places, washing your hands, keeping your distance, and staying at home and getting tested if you have any symptoms. It’s also important to get vaccinated as soon as you can.
Second step of the reopening plan: 19 May
On 19 May, if the numbers allow, the following coronavirus measures will be lifted or relaxed. All other measures will continue to apply.
Indoor sports facilities
Indoor sports facilities like fitness centres and swimming pools may reopen, subject to conditions. A maximum of 30 people applies per space and people must stay 1.5 metres apart. People may only exercise or do sports individually or in groups of 2, with an instructor, and they must stay 1.5 metres apart. Larger group lessons are not allowed, except for children under 18. Competitions and spectators are not allowed. Changing rooms must not be used, except at swimming pools. Reservations and a health check are mandatory. A face mask must be worn indoors, except during the sports activity.
Groups will be allowed to do sports outdoors again, subject to conditions. The maximum group size is 30 and everyone must stay 1.5 metres apart. Competitions and spectators are not allowed. The rules for outdoor sports for young people under 27 had already been relaxed. They do not have to stay 1.5 metres apart during group sports outdoors.
Outdoor leisure locations
Amusement parks, nature parks, zoos and petting farms will reopen, subject to conditions. This also applies to facilities for outdoor play and recreation, such as miniature golf, climbing parks and playgrounds. The number of visitors is limited to one per 10 square metres and all visitors must stay 1.5 metres apart. Reservations and a health check are mandatory. Reservations can be made for people from the same household or for up to 2 people from different households, not counting children. Apart from toilets, any indoor spaces at these locations, such as indoor attractions or indoor animal enclosures, must stay closed. Routes through an indoor space to an outdoor area are allowed.
Artistic and cultural activities indoors
Indoor locations for artistic and cultural activities will reopen. People will be able to take music, dance or theatre lessons again. Teachers can give lessons to individuals or groups of 2. Larger group lessons are not allowed, except for children under 18. A maximum of 30 people applies per space. People must stay 1.5 metres apart, except when the nature of the activity makes this impossible. An example of this is dancing. No audiences are allowed. Reservations and a health check are mandatory. A face mask must be worn indoors, unless the nature of the activity makes it necessary to remove it during practice and rehearsal.
Artistic and cultural activities outdoors
Outdoor locations for cinematic and performing arts, such as open air theatres, can reopen, subject to conditions. A maximum of 30 people applies. Everyone must stay 1.5 metres apart. Reservations are mandatory and can be made for people from the same household or for up to 2 people from different households (not counting children). A health check is also mandatory.
Open air museums, sculpture gardens and outdoor historic sites can also reopen. The number of visitors is limited to one per 10 square metres. Apart from this, the same conditions apply as at outdoor locations for performing arts.
Rental services for recreational equipment
Rental services for outdoor recreational equipment, like canoes, boats and bicycles, can reopen and rent out equipment.
Outdoor seating areas at restaurants and cafés
Outdoor seating areas can be open from 06.00 to 20.00. In the first step, they were allowed to open from 12.00 to 18.00. These hours have been extended, but all the other conditions still apply. Each establishment may have a maximum of 50 guests. No more than 2 people from different households may be seated at a table, sitting 1.5 metres apart.
Outdoor seating areas at sports clubhouses may also reopen. The same conditions apply as at other establishments serving food and drink.
All services involving close contact are allowed. This means that sex workers, the last group in this category, can also resume their work.
Travel and summer holidays
From 15 May, travel to countries with a low rate of infection will be allowed. Always check the latest travel advice on Wijsopreis.nl (in Dutch only). On this website, safe countries will be shaded green or yellow. This means you are no longer advised against going on holiday there. But very few countries will be eligible for this travel advice as of 15 May. The government hopes that it will be possible to designate more countries as safe towards the summer.
Note, however, that in most countries – including those with a ‘yellow’ or ‘green’ travel advice – restrictions apply to travellers from the Netherlands, such as a negative test result requirement or mandatory quarantine. These restrictions are explained in the travel advice, so read it carefully.
‘Orange’ countries have high infection rates. Do not go on holiday to these countries. Non-essential travel to these countries is not recommended.
Using public transport
The urgent advice to use public transport for essential travel only will end as of 19 May. The new advice is to travel outside peak hours when possible. This applies to all modes of transport. Avoid crowds during your journey and at stations.
Next step of the reopening plan
The third step of the reopening plan will not be taken until 9 June at the earliest. The third step will include raising the maximum number of visitors at home from 2 to 4 and allowing restaurants and cafes to serve meals indoors. On 1 June the government will decide whether the numbers allow us to take the third step.