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1 Dec, 2020 12:29

Dutch turnabout: Face masks become mandatory in Netherlands as new restrictions go into effect

Dutch turnabout: Face masks become mandatory in Netherlands as new restrictions go into effect

Wearing face masks in all public buildings and shops has become compulsory in the Netherlands, after a new law intended to slow the spread of coronavirus came into effect on Tuesday.

The legislation marks a gradual turnabout in the Dutch government’s policy, and those who refuse to wear masks now face a fine of €95 ($114).

The so-called Temporary Measures Act Covid-19 orders everyone aged 13 or older to wear a face mask in public indoor spaces, including stores, stations and secondary schools.

Shopkeepers are obliged to enforce the new rule, but some retail chains claimed they would refuse to police it.

The government hadn't recommended the use of masks made of fabric in public places other than on public transportation from March but, from September 30, it began to “strongly advise” the use of masks in crowded public places.

Wearing masks became mandatory following pressure from the public and MPs, as the Netherlands remained one of the last European countries not imposing the rule. But the health institute RIVM, which advises the government, still claims that face masks do not significantly lower the risk of infection.

The new restrictions include limiting groups to a maximum of three guests “per day per home,” and no more than 30 people are being allowed to gather in indoor areas where people are seated.

Also on rt.com Dutch PM closes pubs, restaurants and cafes as coronavirus cases rise

All events were outlawed except for trade, movie and theatrical shows and food markets. Protests or other demonstrations are allowed.

The government also recommended that citizens work from home as much as possible, while also advising travel abroad only “if it is really necessary.”

The Netherlands has been in a “partial lockdown” since October 13. New coronavirus infections are about flat as of Tuesday, from the 36,931 cases registered for the week ending November 24.

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