About COVID-19

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19.

Changes to the coronavirus control measures from 11 May 2020

Together we will continue working to control coronavirus in the Netherlands. Handwashing, staying at home as much as possible, working from home, keeping a distance from others – all these measures advised by experts have been extended. What measures were relaxed from 11 May 2020?

  • Everyone can now participate in sports and activities outdoors, including instruction, provided they stay 1.5 metres from others. The distancing rule does not apply to children aged 12 and under. Matches, competitions and the use of shared changing rooms and showers are still prohibited. Children and teenagers younger than 18 must still be supervised during sports and activities outdoors.
  • Since 11 May 2020 most people in contact-based roles have been allowed to resume their work. This includes driving instructors, health-related professionals (dieticians, masseurs, occupational therapists, prosthodontists, etc.), hair and beauty professionals (beauticians, hairdressers, pedicurists, etc.) and alternative medicine practitioners (acupuncturists and homeopaths, etc.). Sex workers may not yet start work. If the public health situation allows, they may be able to start work again on 1 September 2020.
  • Libraries are open and have taken measures to ensure that visitors can keep a distance of 1.5 metres.
  • Primary schools, including special primary schools, and childcare providers will reopen on 11 May.

What changes are likely from 1 June 2020?

  • People may meet outside as long as they remain 1.5 metres apart.
  • Buildings that are open to the public can admit up to 30 people at a time, not counting staff. Here, too, people must stay 1.5 metres apart.
  • Restaurants, bars and cafés can open at 12.00 on 1 June under the following conditions: a maximum of 30 guests (so not counting staff); people must make a reservation; everyone must stay 1.5 metres apart (except people who live together); the business must assess possible health risks beforehand together with the customer.
  • Restaurants, cafés and bars may reopen outdoor seating areas at 12.00 on 1 June. There is no maximum number of people for outdoor seating areas, but all guests must sit at tables and people who do not live together must stay 1.5 metres apart.
  • Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can reopen under the following conditions: a maximum of 30 audience members per auditorium; people must make a reservation; the venue must assess possible health risks beforehand together with the customer; everyone must maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from others.
  • Museums and heritage sites can reopen if people buy tickets in advance and the health risks are assessed beforehand. The maximum number of visitors depends on the building. People must stay 1.5 metres apart.
  • Passengers aged 13 and over will be required to wear a non-medical face mask on trams, buses, water buses, metros and trains. In stations, on platforms and at bus and tram stops face masks are not required. You can buy or make your own non-medical face masks.

When will primary schools reopen? Primary schools, including special primary schools, and daycare centres, out-of-school care centres (BSO) and childminders will be open their regular hours from 8 June. Unless the research currently being carried out shows that this is not safe. When will secondary schools (for special education) reopen? Secondary schools, including secondary schools for special education, will reopen for all pupils on 2 June. Schools will take measures to ensure that everyone can keep a distance of 1.5 metres. In practice, this means that not all pupils can attend school at the same time. When will schools, institutions and universities be able to open for exams and practical training? On 15 June schools for secondary vocational education (MBO), institutions for higher professional education (HBO) and universities will reopen to a limited extent for exams, practical training and to provide support to vulnerable students. What changes are likely from 1 July 2020? If we keep the virus under control, shared toilets and shower blocks at campsites and holiday parks, and at public parks, nature areas and beaches can reopen on 1 July. The government also hopes that the maximum number of visitors to cinemas, restaurants, cafés and bars and cultural institutions can be increased to 100. This increase would also apply to the maximum number of participants at organised gatherings, such as church services, weddings and funerals. What changes are likely from 1 September 2020? If the virus remains under control, gyms, saunas, health spas, clubhouses, cannabis cafés, casinos and sex establishments will reopen. People of all ages will be allowed to take part in contact sports and indoor sports. Competitive sports events, including professional football matches, can take place without spectators. Does the maximum of 30 people indoors, which applies from 1 June 2020, also apply to buildings like shops, libraries and cultural institutions? This rule does not apply to markets, shops, libraries, zoos, amusement parks, museums and cultural institutions. The head of the safety region decides when they can open and under what conditions. From 1 June 2020, what types of gatherings with more than 30 people in one indoor space are allowed?

  • Gatherings required by law, such as parliamentary and municipal council meetings and some shareholders’ meetings, can be held online. Physical gatherings are permitted but must not exceed 100 people. Participants must be able to stay at least 1.5 metres away from one another.
  • Gatherings necessary to ensure the continued daily operation of institutions, businesses and other organisations are permitted but must not exceed 100 people. Participants must be able to stay at least 1.5 metres away from one another.

How much is the fine for not wearing a non-medical face mask on public transport? The fine can be up to €95.

Government of the Netherlands' measures to control Coronavirus

On Monday 23 March the government introduced additional measures to combat the coronavirus outbreak. Prime Minister Mark Rutte, justice and security minister Ferd Grapperhaus, health minister Hugo de Jonge and medical care minister Martin van Rijn announced the measures at a press conference. The measures are based on the advice of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM).

The new and stricter measures are as follows:

  • Stay home as much as possible. Leave the house only to go to work if you cannot work at home, to buy groceries or to take care of others. You can go out to get some fresh air, but do not do so in groups. Always keep a good distance from other people (at least 1.5 metres) and avoid all social activities and groups of people. At home: limit the number of visitors to 3 and keep sufficient distance (1.5m) from each other.
  • As before, if you have a cough or a cold: stay home. If someone in your household develops a fever, all the members of the household should stay home. This does not apply to key workers in crucial sectors and critical processes, unless they themselves get sick.
  • All gatherings are prohibited until 1 June, even gatherings of less than 100 people. This is a tightening of the existing ban (that applied up to 6 April). An exception is made for funerals and religious weddings. More information about this will follow soon.
  • Public transport and shops are required to take measures to ensure that people keep a good distance. For instance, by limiting the number of people allowed in the shop at the same time.
  • Businesses in contact-based industries, such as hair salons and beauty parlours, must be closed until 6 April. Other professionals, such as physiotherapists, are urged to work via video calls wherever possible.
  • Casinos are now subject to the same restrictions as establishments serving food and drink and will be closed from 24 March 2020.
  • Establishments such as holiday parks must put measures in place so that people keep a distance of 1.5 metres from each other. Failing this, local authorities may order these locations to close.
  • Mayors may designate areas, like parks, beaches or neighbourhoods, where people are not allowed to collect together. The authorities will take action against groups of 3 or more people, who do not all maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from each other. This does not apply to children or to people in the same household, such as families.
  • The ban on gatherings does not apply to public markets as these play a crucial role in bringing food to consumers in some parts of the country. Municipalities and market superintendents will examine ways that a good distance between members of the public can be maintained.
  • The government also wants to be able to enforce existing measures more effectively. Mayors will have the option of enacting an emergency bye-law, to more easily and more quickly initiate enforcement activities. Mayors can also order specific locations to be closed, including parks, beaches and campsites. And people who violate the rules can be fined.

Previously published measures remain in force. For more information, read about the approach to tackling coronavirus in the Netherlands. The measures are in keeping with the Netherlands’ approach, which is to make sure that the healthcare system is able to cope and has enough capacity to help the people who need it most. This approach and the measures are based on the advice of the Outbreak Management Team. This is a group of experts chaired by Jaap van Dissel, director of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). Source: Government of the Netherlands

What are the symptoms?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment.

Should I worry about COVID-19?

Illness due to COVID-19 infection is generally mild, especially for children and young adults. However, it can cause serious illness: about 1 in every 5 people who catch it need hospital care. It is therefore quite normal for people to worry about how the COVID-19 outbreak will affect them and their loved ones. Source: World Health Organization