New COVID-19 measures nationwide and regional

At a press conference on Monday, 28 September, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport announced new national measures for the next three weeks in an attempt to stop the second wave of the Corona pandemic.

As a rule groups of a maximum of 30 people are allowed to gather indoors in public institutions, which include theatres. Exceptions can be made for venues of a great cultural importance. The decision which venues will be able to receive audiences larger than 30 people is delegated to the regional security councils.

On Tuesday the VSCD (the Dutch Association of Theatres and Concert Halls) made an urgent demand to exempt theatres nationwide from this rule. Especially since The Minister of Education, Culture and Science has been encouraging people to visit theatres, as their strict regulations make them safer than places such as supermarkets. The VSCD’s request was not granted, so each security region is making separate decisions.

In addition to the maximum of 30 visitors to a theatre, people are advised to wear facemasks. Theatres are placing transparent screens between audience members on top of the 1.5 meter distancing that was already in place.

In Amsterdam ten venues have been granted permission to host a maximum of 250 people. These include International Theatre Amsterdam, Nationaal Opera en Ballet, Concertgebouw and De Meervaart. Theater Bellevue has decided to continue presenting shows, but for 30 people. It is presenting additional shows to meet with audience demands. 

In several larger cities such as Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht, the 30-people rule will not be enforced pending the security councils’ decisions regarding the specific implications for those regions. SPRING in Autumn is set to go ahead at Stadsschouwburg Utrecht from 28 October.

In Noord-Brabant, Festival Circolo (15 – 25 October) has been cancelled due to the new measures, while Theaters Tilburg have been granted an exception.

Not every district has its measures in place yet. These will be announced within the next few weeks. The new rules are effective for three weeks from 28 September. After that, the government will decide how to proceed, based on the latest updates from the RIVM, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment.