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Dutch nightclubs to remain closed until November, government announces

"This is again a hard message"

Dutch nightclubs will remain closed until at least 31st October, according to the latest government announcement. 

Last week Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge held a press conference in which new plans for reopening were unveiled. These included removing mandatory social distancing from higher education institutions by the end of August, although classes will be limited to 75 and masks must still be worn inside buildings. 

This step will then be rolled out to other situations over the coming weeks and months, with all social distancing rules "hopefully" gone by 1st November. 

Restaurants, cafes, and bars will continue to work to midnight - 6AM curfews, until at least 19th September. All customers must also be seated. Nightclubs, meanwhile, look set to be among the last parts of society to reopen, which will happen no earlier than the very end of October, after the world's largest electronic music event, ADE, was set to take place.

“I realise that this is again a hard message and that more was hoped for. The work in these sectors can continue, but with one hand tied behind their back for the time being,” Rutte said.

While countries such as the USA, Scotland, and England have green-lit music events with either zero or limited legal requirements relating to coronavirus, the Netherlands reversed its relaxations in early July. Many previously shuttered sectors, including nightclubs, did open on 26th June, but this was followed by a significant spike in COVID-19 cases. The country overall saw a 500% increase in infections, and in Utrecht Verknipt Festival alone is thought to have been responsible for 1,000 new cases. 

In the wake of the proposed timeline, anti-lockdown protests have been confirmed for cities across the country on Saturday 21st August, including Groningen, Nijmegen, Utrecht, Rotterdam, and Amsterdam.