I realised over the weekend that it’s been 3 months since lockdown started, any plans for the near future were cancelled and I truly became a home body. The Netherlands opted for a ‘intelligent lockdown’.
What are the rules of an ‘intelligent lockdown’?
- Everyone is asked to keep a distance of at least 1.5 metres (5ft) from other people and groups of more than three people are banned in public with a possible fine if this is not adhered to
- People should work at home if they can and stay home as much as possible.
- Bars, restaurants, museums, cinemas are closed– essentially anywhere where large groups of people gather or convene
- All organised events, such as festivals and football matches, have been banned until September 1 at least
- BUT shops, including non-food, have not been closed, and people are still allowed to go out for a walk and get some fresh air
The idea is to give people freedom to make the ‘intelligent’ choice to stay home and not spread the virus. My experience was that expats took this more seriously than many Dutch. To the extent that on a number of weekends a number of beaches, nature reserves and parks (including the roads to get to them) had to be closed, as too many people were visiting them to allow them to keep the 1.5 metre social distancing rule.
I chose to take the lockdown seriously and only left my house essential shopping, where I absolutely had to, I dont think I left my house for the first 2 months, thanks to online deliveries.
Whilst I was fortunate enough to remain in work, working from home rather than the office, I have to say that the Dutch government offered an excellent package to those who were unable to work. The amount of what individuals could claim ranged on the business they were in, profession, standard wage, etc. However, the average furloughed employee has been able to claim 90% of their wage.
Lock down has been officially eased in phased stages from the 1st of June, with restaurants, museums, cinemas and childrens schools returning with social distancing and other rules in place. Some businesses have now allowed employees to go back, however, the official stance from the RIVM (National Institute for Health and Environment) is to work from home as much as possible, to avoid spreading the virus.
It’s crazy to think all the plans that have been cancelled and really how life changed completely for everyone around the world. Welcome to the new normal…