The Dutch government, which until recently has been hesitant to impose public health mandates such as obligatory mask-wearing, plans to announce additional restrictions on Tuesday, according to Reuters.
The new regulations, which could include a crackdown on bars and restaurants, are a response to an alarming surge of infections in the Netherlands. The country’s seven-day rolling average of new infections rose by 65 percent over the past week, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, and it reported 212 new cases for every 100,000 people, one of the highest infection rates in the world.
Coronavirus cases in the Netherlands have been rising steadily since the summer, when many restrictions were lifted, but officials have been reluctant to add new controls that could have a negative impact on the economy. In late September, Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced that masks would be required on public transportation, but they remain recommended rather than mandatory in other settings. Similarly, large gatherings have been discouraged rather than outright banned.
Bars and restaurants have already been ordered to close by 10 p.m., but the new restrictions could force them to shut down entirely, national broadcaster NOS reported, according to Reuters. The regulations are also expected to include a ban on using public transportation for nonessential trips and a prohibition on gatherings of more than three people in private homes.