NL: Catering sector furious about plans for nightclubs' continued closure, expanded access testing

AMSTERDAM - Hospitality association KHN is "furious" by leaked cabinet plans to expand the use of coronavirus access passes and keep nightclubs closed for the time being. Catering entrepreneurs will not accept this, especially with coronavirus support packages lapsing next month, Dirk Beljaarts of the KHN said to De Telegraaf.

"It's the same time and again," Beljaarts said. "But what is now on the table, the wider use of access passes, is presented as a relaxation, but is effectively an aggravation." Visitors to catering establishments, theaters and concert halls, among others, will have to show a QR code proving that they've been vaccinated against the coronavirus, recently tested negative for the virus, or recently recovered from it and therefore have immunity against it.

Making coronavirus access passes mandatory means that businesses will need to have someone standing at the door to check the QR codes. "And you don't have extra people, because there is already a huge staff shortage. And if you could take them on at all, that would be an expense that cancels out the additional turnover," Beljaarts said to the newspaper.

With support packages also lapsing on October 1, the KHN received signals from "thousands of entrepreneurs that won't enforce" the access testing or opening hours, Beljaarts said. "When the support stops, you basically say: there's nothing to worry about anymore, so you can go about your normal business. But entrepreneurs who are normally open until two or three in the morning see their opening hours being limited. So someone needs to check the access passes and companies that are mainly open at night have to stay closed completely. There is no support and that will lead to a lot of dissatisfaction."


On Sunday, sources around the government told various Dutch media that the cabinet plans to scrap social distancing rules from September 25. From that same date, a coronavirus access pass frequently generated by the CoronaCheck app will be mandatory for everyone aged 13 and older when visiting catering businesses and cultural venues, including cafés, concert halls and theaters. There does not seem to be any plans to allow large events yet, to the bafflement of the sector.

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