The Netherlands will be locked again during the Christmas period. For the second year in a row, the holidays are by no means what most have in mind. From Sunday 19 December, the Netherlands will go into a total lockdown from 5.00 a.m. On Saturday everyone went shopping en masse, resulting in crowded shopping streets, long traffic jams and a rush in the shops. Entrepreneurs are desperate. Non-essential shops are left with massive amounts of stock, the catering industry is drawing a line through all reservations and the cultural sector is locked again.

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All restrictions are currently in force until January 14, 20222, but Rutte does not want to make any predictions about how the corona virus will develop. “We don't know if there will be other variants after this, I really can't predict that,” he says. The cabinet and the experts will continue to consult a lot in the coming period and will continuously monitor developments around omikron, Rutte emphasizes.

"I think we should say to each other: corona has not gone away for the time being. And that is a terrible setback for the whole world. We have to face that together."

Prime Minister Mark Rutte
Prime Minister Mark Rutte

During the new lockdown rules, people can receive a maximum of two visitors at home. Christmas and New Year's Eve are excluded: a maximum of four visitors applies. There is also a maximum of two people who are allowed to gather outside, and here too there is an exception for the holidays.

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Those who want to escape the Netherlands and the lockdown can leave. You can go on holiday, “but do stick to the rules,” says De Jonge. "It may be that rules apply when entering, or that you will have to deal with extra measures when traveling back." De Jonge also says that a quarantine obligation will apply to all people who travel to the Netherlands from outside Schengen. But that duty has yet to be officially confirmed.

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All education and out-of-school care must be closed until at least 9 January. According to the cabinet, this is necessary to limit the spread of the omikron variant. On January 3, the cabinet will decide whether education can reopen after January 10.

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