Dutch government eases lockdown, opening shops, gyms and hairdressers

The Dutch government has said that shops, hairdressers and gyms will be allowed to reopen in the Netherlands, but bars and restaurants must remain closed, as it announced the easing of one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns.

The government said bars, restaurants, museums and theaters will remain closed until at least January 25.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte said of the hospitality industry: “I understand very well that it seems completely unfair after all those long months of closure and after all this effort to open safely.”

The country spent both Christmas and New Years in lockdown, but from Saturday stores will reopen until 17:00.

Schools also reopened earlier in the week.

The Netherlands is reporting more than 30,000 new COVID-19 infections every day, an all-time record since the start of the pandemic.

Hospitalizations were high in early December but have fallen since then.

About 86% of the adult population in the Netherlands has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and about 46% have received a booster dose.

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