The Netherlands and Belgium are deconfining at a different pace, but with the same caution
One preached an “intelligent confinement”, on March 16, after a phase of hesitation; the other decreed, almost on the same date, an almost complete isolation of individuals. Today, the Dutch and Belgian prime ministers, Mark Rutte and Sophie Wilmès, show the same doubts. But, by launching a call for the responsibility of each citizen, both announced, Wednesday, May 6, a second phase for the deconfinement of their country. No doubt because their population was showing growing impatience.
Drastic drop in hospitalizations in the Netherlands
With a much more favorable assessment than their neighbor (41,319 contaminations, 5,204 deaths, a drastic drop in the number of patients hospitalized each day), the Netherlands will go further and faster than Belgium, which, on Wednesday, totaled 50,781 contaminations and 8,339 deaths.
As of Monday, May 11, elementary schools, hairdressers, beauty salons and libraries will be able to reopen their doors in the Netherlands. On June 1 st , it will be the turn of colleges and high schools, as well as restaurants, cafes, cinemas, theaters and concert halls, provided, however, that no more than 30 people are present, obliged to have made a reservation in advance. On July 1 st , the ceiling will be raised to 100 people and campsites, recreation parks and convention centers will also be deconfined. On September 1 st , it will be the turn of casinos, clubs, sports centers and coffee shops. Major public events can only take place after January 1 st . Wearing a mask will only be compulsory on public transport – which the population is only invited to use in case of real necessity.
Belgian businesses: one customer per 10 m 2
In Belgium, the approach will be more cautious, the authorities visibly fearing an epidemic rebound which could overwhelm a hospital system already under severe strain. From Sunday May 10, a maximum of four people can participate in a family reunion. The next day, Monday May 11, all businesses will be able to reopen, under strict conditions: one customer per 10 m², respect for physical distancing, shopping by one person only, in a place close to home, etc. Wearing a mask will be “highly recommended” but not mandatory, much to the chagrin of store staff and much of the medical community. Even if they deny it, politicians could not impose such a measure when the supply of masks remains a problem in many places.