Rutte: Two negative Covid tests required to enter Netherlands; Summer festival season cancelled

THE HAGUE - Anyone wanting to travel to the Netherlands from a European Union country designated by the Netherlands as being at risk for the coronavirus infection will be required to prove that they tested negative for the infection twice before their departure. The rule is for people not considered by the Netherlands to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, and for anyone who cannot supply proof of a recent recovery from the coronavirus infection.

The rule is already being implemented for people traveling from Andorra, Cyprus, Portugal and Spain. For all others traveling within the EU, the rule will start on August 8. Starting on Tuesday, the Netherlands will begin reducing the coronavirus risk level for all EU countries to either the lowest level, Green, or the Yellow level to indicate a moderate risk.

From August 8, the new testing policy will be in place for any EU country at Code Yellow, Orange or Red. The Netherlands will likely only increase the risk level in an EU country if a coronavirus variant of concern is discovered there.

The testing requirements include a PCR test taken no more than 48 hours before departure to the Netherlands, and an antigen test taken up to 24 hours before departing. The announcement was made by Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge at a press conference on Monday.

Airlines and other travel providers will be required to check documentation proving the two negative tests. Anyone traveling by car can also be screened and will be required to have their negative test results with them. Those who have recovered from Covid-19 or who have been vaccinated against it can use the Dutch government's CoronaCheck app to demonstrate their status.

The testing rules do not apply to people younger than 12 years of age.

Additionally, anyone returning to the Netherlands, including people who have been vaccinated against Covid-19, will still be advised to take a coronavirus self-test on the day they arrive. They should also take a self-test five days later, or get tested by the GGD.

"That gives us more certainty and can prevent a new wave in the fall," De Jonge said.

All multi-day festivals in August will be prohibited

Additionally, the Cabinet said that it would extend its ban against multi-day festivals. Limitations on those festivals were announced earlier this month as a sudden policy reversal amid a surge in coronavirus infections. The ban was supposed to extend until at least August 13, when the Cabinet was to update the public with more information about any changes.

However, multi-day festivals will instead be cancelled at least through the end of August 31. It means that festivals like Down the Rabbit Hole, Lowlands, Mysteryland will all be forced to modify their plans or cancel their program entirely.

Festival organizers had placed more pressure on the Cabinet to make a decision sooner so they can either reclaim deposits from vendors, take advantage of funding options, and reschedule or cancel events with enough notice.

No decision has yet been made about limitations to one-day festivals, which include restrictions on attendance, and requirements about seating capacity. 

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