Dutch to reopen restaurants in June, sex clubs stay shut
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The Hague (AFP)
Dutch restaurants, cafes and museums can reopen with restrictions from June 1 as anti-coronavirus measures ease, but sex clubs must stay closed until September, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Tuesday.
Masks will be made compulsory on public transport from next month as the number of services increases, Rutte said as he unveiled the latest relaxation of the "intelligent lockdown" imposed on March 16.
The Netherlands has taken a less strict approach than many of its European neighbours which imposed harsh stay-at-home orders, but Rutte warned that if infection numbers rose then restrictions would be reimposed.
"We can't unlock the country if we don't act wisely," Rutte said.
Secondary schools will also reopen in June, with primary schools and nurseries already due to return on a part-time basis next week.
Restaurants, cafes, museums and theatres will be allowed to accommodate a maximum of 30 people, including staff, and must respect 1.5 metre (five feet) social distancing rules from June 1, the Dutch government said.
Visitors will have to reserve in advance and must declare whether they pose a potential risk of infection.
Terraces serving drinks -- an institution among the outdoors-loving Dutch -- can also reopen so long as they respect the distancing measures.
But the country's famed sex clubs such as those found in Amsterdam's Red Light district must stay closed until September 1 along with gyms and saunas.
Cannabis-selling "coffeeshops" will also remain take-out only until then.
Professional football can also restart without an audience in September, the government said. The Dutch Eredivisie has already cancelled the current season, ending without declaring a champion.
"Together we have achieved the possibility of easing the measures, and we have to work together to maintain that," said Rutte.
The Netherlands has recorded 5,204 deaths from COVID-19 from 41,319 positive cases.
© 2020 AFP