Coronavirus restrictions in the Netherlands will be eased from Saturday despite a wave of new infections due to the Omicron variant, Trend reports citing Reuters.
NOS and RTL broadcasters, citing government sources, said that non-essential stores, hairdressers and gyms would be allowed to reopen for a limited number of customers. Students will be welcomed back into their colleges and universities.
Bars, restaurants, theaters, museums and other public places will remain closed.
The government will make an official decision on the changes on Friday.
Public places, except for essential stores, have been closed since mid-December as hospitals struggled to deal with a wave of COVID-19 patients, caused by the delta type of virus.
Hospital numbers have since improved, but are expected to rise again in the coming weeks as new infections jump to record levels since Omicron became the dominant alternative.
The improving situation in hospitals has increased pressure on the government to ease restrictions, especially from shop owners in areas close to the German and Belgian borders, who said customers are now traveling abroad to shop.
Local authorities in the southern and eastern Netherlands said this week that they would not intervene if stores chose to ignore closing orders.