The Indian water lilies continue to sing in the Efteling, Museum Speelklok in Utrecht opens an exhibition about organ sculptures and the houses of Roompot holiday parks are popular during the autumn holidays. At the same time, the national government advises against the corona virus: ‘By visiting fewer places and traveling less, there is less contact with other people. This way the virus can spread less quickly. ‘ Every citizen looking for entertainment must make their own decisions.
That does not always work out happily. On Friday it was announced that the king and his family had left for their holiday villa in Greece with the government plane. Prime Minister Mark Rutte was aware of this. Officially, such a holiday trip is not prohibited (the area in which the royal villa is located has code yellow), but the trip does not compare well with Rutte’s message to the rest of the country: Stay at home as much as possible.
A storm of criticism therefore arose, the royal family decided to return to the Netherlands immediately (“We see people’s reactions to reports in the media. And they are fierce, and they affect us.”) And Rutte will have to account for this in Parliament.
While more and more countries and regions abroad are turning ‘orange’ (and holiday travel is not recommended), we are still allowed to go on holiday anywhere in the Netherlands. It is allowed to go to a campsite, holiday home or hotel in the Netherlands. The same basic rules apply to these holiday addresses as in your own place of residence: keep 1.5 meters away, wash your hands and avoid crowds. There are no additional restrictions for regions where the number of corona infections is (much) higher than in other areas. H.The government does recommend that you limit the number of outings at your holiday destination. On the website of the national government it literally says: ‘Travel as little as possible. Stay at your holiday address as much as possible. Limit the number of outings and avoid crowds. ‘
Isn’t that advice a bit double: you can travel domestically, but travel as little as possible?
That is correct and that is also recognized by the national government. “It is a balance that we are looking for between locking up the country and still offering people some perspective that they can still get out,” said a spokesman for the national core team crisis communication covid-19. In the fight against the virus, a travel ban, also in your own country, is of course a powerful weapon. But the cabinet does not want to go that far. Not only economic considerations play a role in this, but also the social and psychological well-being of citizens is taken into account. “You cannot lock people up completely,” said the government spokesman. ‘They also need some space to relax.’
‘We think it is very logical that we can remain open,’ says Kees Klesman, director of the Club van Elf, the interest group for the 23 largest daytime attractions in the Netherlands (Van Rijksmuseum to GaiaZoo). According to him, those companies only allow thirty percent of the visitor capacity and are doing everything they can to realize the distance rules. ‘No major contamination has occurred in a museum or amusement park since June.’ According to Klesman, day recreation is important for our well-being. ‘As long as everyone comes with their own transport, it is super safe.’
‘We are asked to monitor ourselves’, says behavioral scientist Frenk van Harreveld (University of Amsterdam). ‘We understand that not everyone can go to an amusement park, but do you want to be the one who stays at home? According to the professor, every person constantly weighs short-term needs and desires against long-term goals that are more abstract. “Like fighting a virus you can’t see.” The annoying thing is, says Van Harreveld, that short-term desires usually win.
The government’s message may be ambiguous, says the behavioral scientist, but he does not think that is a disaster. ‘The cabinet now puts much less responsibility on citizens than before. For example, closing the catering industry is a big step. ‘ Closing all attractions can, according to Van Harreveld, turn the balance in the wrong direction and lead to more social and mental problems. During the first wave, many people already suffered from loneliness, stress and depression. And now we are in autumn with a long, dark winter ahead. So that can only get worse. ‘
The cabinet does not prohibit foreign travel. On the world map of Foreign Affairs, which indicates risks, the colors red (not recommended) and orange (only necessary trips) dominate. Some European regions are yellow, including mainland Greece where King Willem-Alexander has his holiday home.
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