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Record number of infections, but cabinet is still waiting: “Too early to see effect lockdown”

Despite the record number of infections, the cabinet is not yet taking any new measures against the corona virus. There will be an alcohol clock for hotels to combat confusion and abuse.

It is “still too early” to see the effect of the current partial lockdown in the figures, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said at his weekly press conference on Friday.

This means that the cabinet is not giving in to the growing pressure to intervene more sharply now. The Twente security region, among others, called for a tighter lockdown, but Rutte first wants to wait for the effect of the current package. That should take at least 12 to 14 days, he said. The partial lockdown did not take effect until October 14.

However, “all scenarios are on the table” if the number of new infections does not fall sharply enough in the coming week, Prime Minister Rutte added. On Friday, the RIVM registered nearly ten thousand new infections. “That is really much too much,” said Rutte. In healthcare, “the corona wards are overflowing with patients.” Intensive care is also getting fuller. German hospitals have admitted the first Dutch patients.

There are indications that the latest measures have at least some effect. Data on road traffic and public transport show that people travel less. It can also be seen on the street that people stay home more often. Especially in the evenings and at night it is “really much less busy”, said Rutte, who immediately warned that this does not mean that the latest package of measures “does what it should do”.

Also alcohol clock for hotels

In the end, the cabinet took one more measure on Friday, less to combat the virus than to combat confusion. Hotels are also no longer allowed to serve alcohol in their bars and restaurants after 8 pm. Drinks may no longer be delivered to hotel guests via room service either. Such a curfew for alcohol already existed for the food industry, but hotels had until now been excluded from the rule.

It led to confusion in the hotel sector and sometimes also to abuse of the provision, according to the cabinet. For example, stories circulated of young people who only rented a hotel room to have a drink with friends in the evening. That is why it now equalizes the alcohol rules for all sectors. The tightening took effect immediately on Friday evening.

Branch organization Koninklijke Horeca Nederland responds “with incomprehension” to the cabinet decision. According to KHN, the alcohol clock is “the pinnacle of symbolic politics” and shows “little empathy”. The cabinet would harm the entire hotel industry “for a handful of incidents.”

The decision removes “part of the essence of a hotel stay, namely hospitality,” says KHN. “With the taking away of this last piece of hospitality, it seems that the only sector that is still open must now also be destroyed.”

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