PARIS, France – The Netherlands will return to a partial lockdown from Saturday after the government ordered restaurants and shops to close early and barred spectators from major sporting events in an effort to contain a rapid surge in COVID – 19 cases.
Caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte said restrictions that the Dutch people had thought had ended for good were re – imposed for three weeks.
Supermarkets and non – essential retailers will also close earlier and social distancing measures will be re – imposed. The government recommended that no more than four visitors be received at home, effective immediately.
Cafes and nightclubs will have to close at 8 P.M. from Saturday.
‘Tonight we are bringing a very unpleasant message with very unpleasant and far – reaching measures’, Rutte said in a televised address on Friday evening. ‘The virus is everywhere and needs to be combated everywhere’.
The government was also exploring ways to restrict access to indoor venues for people who have not been vaccinated, a politically sensitive measure that would require parliamentary approval.