COVID 19 update February
February 8th, 2021
Due to the latest measures announced by the Dutch government concerning the COVID-19 virus, we have the following update for you: this update will inform you about the recent changes with regards to COVID-19 measures, as well as the curfew, the extra COVID-19 rapid test and the entry ban for assignees traveling from the UK, South Africa and South America.
The number of new positive cases per day is declining and the pressure on hospitals is gradually easing. But new variants of the virus are gaining ground quickly in The Netherlands. This is cause for concern because these new variants are more infectious and can cause a new wave of infections. We must prevent this as much as possible so that hospitals will continue to be able to treat both COVID-19 and other patients in the months ahead. The government has therefore decided to extend the current lockdown until 2 March 2021. Primary schools and childcare centres will however re-open as of 8 February 2021. Also shops will be allowed to offer customers the option of collecting goods that they have ordered in advance at pre-agreed times.
Schools and childcare
As of Monday 8 February 2021 the primary schools, primary schools for kids with learning disabilities and childcare centres will reopen fully. It is vital that schools, childcare centres and parents do everything possible to limit the number of contacts as much as possible. Childcare staff will soon be eligible for priority testing. School staff already have priority for coronavirus testing and this will continue. A trial involving rapid testing for primary school teachers will start soon. In the very short term the education and social affairs & employment ministries will issue additional guidelines aimed at minimizing the risk of infection at primary schools and childcare centres. After school care (BSO) will stay closed as this could lead to extra contacts and positive cases.
Secondary schools will remain closed until at least 1 March 2021 – after the February school holidays. They will remain open for some groups, including pupils in the last years of high school who will have to pass exams this year and vulnerable pupils. The National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM) has drafted new guidelines aimed at minimizing the risk of infection so that these schools will be able to reopen safely in the near future. To see how the guidelines work in practice for a whole school, some secondary schools will allow more pupils to come to school as of next week. Schools taking part in the rapid testing trial can also participate in this pilot project.
Order and takeaway
Non-essential shops will remain closed for the time being. However, the government wants to make the lockdown a little more bearable for retailers and consumers.
As of 10 February 2021, non-essential shops will be allowed to offer their customers the option of collecting their order in person:
- Customers should order their goods (online or by phone) at least 4 hours in advance;
- Make an appointment to collect;
- Pick up the order outside of the shop;
- The basic rules apply at all times: stay 1.5 meters apart;
- Follow the basic hygiene measures and stay home if you have symptoms of COVID-19.
The roadmap of measures to combat the spread of coronavirus has been updated. The government will use this updated roadmap in the future when deciding to either ease or tighten measures. The idea behind the roadmap is to make it clear what measures are needed if infections, pressure on the healthcare system and hospital admissions increase, as well as which measures might be relaxed if the situation changes for the better. Whatever the case, it is vital that any easing of measures is done gradually and with due care. On the other hand, new measures must be introduced quickly. The roadmap will be regularly updated to reflect the latest knowledge on the virus and the impact of measures.
On 23 February 2021, the government will assess which measures are necessary to take as from 2 March 2021.
Stay at home, work from home and keep contact with others to a minimum.
The aim of the lockdown is to prevent people from coming into contact with each other wherever possible. Less contact means fewer infections. So stay at home as much as possible. Only go outside to shop for essentials, to get medical care for yourself or to care for others or animals, to get some fresh air or to go to work or school if working or learning remotely is not possible. Keep in touch via telephone or video calls instead. If you do decide to receive visitors, the government’s strict advice is to have not more than one visitor per day, not including children under 13. You should not visit more than one other household per day either.
In principle everyone should work from home all the time. Only people whose physical presence is essential to operational processes and who cannot do their work from home can go to their workplace. So, for example, a bus driver can go to work, but an office worker should work entirely from home. The current situation in The Netherlands is very serious. So employers and staff should review their existing agreements about coming into work. At the moment, people should not be going to work to meet with colleagues or clients. Employers must ensure that any employee who can work from home does so. Employees who are asked to come into work even though their physical presence is not essential should raise this with their employer.
These measures will help prevent the spread of the virus. Of course, seeing fewer people is hard on everyone. So look out for any people around you who might need extra attention, especially those who are ill, lonely or struggling with mental health issues.
Measures up to at least 2 March 2021, inclusive
Read below about the measures that will be in place from now until at least 2 March 2021, inclusive:
- Receive no more than 1 person aged 13 or over at your home per day.
- Visit no more than 1 other household per day.
- Work from home. Only people whose physical presence is essential to operational processes and who - cannot do their work from home can go to work.
- Only go outside with members of your household, on your own or with 1 other person.
- Curfew: everyone must stay inside between 9 pm and 04.30 am until March 3, 2021. While the curfew is in force, people will not be allowed outside without a valid reason. If you need to go out at this time, you may do so only in the following circumstances:
- in the event of an emergency;
- you need urgent medical assistance, your pet needs urgent veterinary assistance or someone needs your urgent assistance;
- your employer requires you to leave your home for your work;
- you are travelling abroad or returning to The Netherlands;
- you are going to or returning from a funeral and can prove this;
- you are travelling in connection with a summons issued by a court or public prosecutor, or in connection with a court hearing in objection, judicial review or appeal proceedings, and you can prove this;
- you are walking a dog on a leash. You must do this on your own.
If it is necessary for you to go outside during the curfew, you must take a ‘curfew declaration’ with you. If you have to go out for your job, you must also be able to produce an employer’s declaration. In certain cases, no declaration is required. If you do not have a valid reason to go abroad during the curfew, you can receive a fine of € 95. For more information, visit (text: https://www.government.nl/topics/coronavirus-covid-19/curfew link: Curfew | Coronavirus COVID-19 | Government.nl)
- Funerals may be attended by no more than 50 people.
- Most locations are closed, including:
- shops (except those selling essentials like groceries – from 10 February onwards, shops can offer a ‘click and collect service’)
- locations where contact-based professions are carried out, such as hairdressers, nail salons and sex establishments
- theatres, concert halls, cinemas, casinos, etc.
- zoos, amusement parks, etc.
- indoor sports venues such as gyms, swimming pools, saunas, spas, etc.
- restaurants, bars and cafes.
- Educational institutions are mainly offering remote and online learning. Daycare and after school care centres will remain closed during this period.
- Primary schools and childcare centres for children aged 0 to 4 will reopen from 8 February.
- Afterschool care centres will remain closed.
- Secondary schools can offer practical training, school exams for pupils in the upper grades and lessons for pupils with upcoming final exams on site.
- Secondary vocational schools (MBO), higher professional education institutions (HBO) and universities can offer exams and practical training on site.
- All educational institutions can make exceptions to provide support to vulnerable pupils or students.
- For children whose parents work in critical sectors, emergency childcare is available at their primary school, daycare centre and/or out-of-school care centre. Parents are urged to use emergency childcare only if they have no other option.
- Only medical professionals and allied health professionals may carry out work that involves close contact with clients or patients.
- Hotels are open, but hotel restaurants will remain closed and room service will be unavailable.
- Adults may take part in sports activities on their own or with one other person, but only outdoors. Children aged 17 and under may take part in team sports and play matches against children at the same club, but only outdoors.
- Use public transport for essential travel only.
- Stay in The Netherlands. Do not travel abroad and do not book trips abroad until 31 March 2021 inclusive. Travel restrictions will apply.
The travel ban for non-essential travels is still in place until further notice and has been tightened.
The ban restricts all non-essential travel from third countries into the EU. This includes tourists, business travelers, temporary family visits etc. In practice, this means that the EU Member States and the Schengen associated countries can refuse entry to non-resident third country nationals at their external borders.
As of July 1st, 2020, The Netherlands has lifted the travel ban for certain groups of travelers, allowing permanent (long-term) residents of the following countries to enter the Netherlands: Aruba, Australia, Bonaire, Curacao, Iceland, New Zealand, Rwanda, Saba, Singapore, South Korea, St Eustatius, St Maarten and Thailand. The ban on travelers from China will be lifted once China allows entry to EU citizens.
The list of safe countries will be reviewed regularly. Countries can be added to a certain category if the health situation with regards to COVID19 allows it. If, in view of COVID19, the health situation in a country deteriorates, the country can be listed in the category of countries from which one is not allowed to travel to The Netherlands.
The travel ban does not apply to the following groups of people:
- EU citizens and their family members
- Nationals of Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, San Marino, Monaco, Vatican City and Andorra, and their family members
- Third-country nationals who have a residence card or residence permit in accordance with EU Directive 2003/109/EC concerning long-term residents
- Third-country nationals whose right of residence is derived from other EU directives or the national law of a member state
- Holders of a long-stay visa, including those with an authorization for temporary stay (MVV).
Third-country nationals who are key workers or have exceptional circumstances are also exempted. These are:
- Healthcare professionals
- Cross-border commuters
- In so far as necessary, people working in the transport of goods, and other transport workers. These are people who work on container ships, bulk carriers (e.g. transporting ore or coal), tankers (e.g. transporting fuels and chemicals), fishing boats; people who work in the energy sector, i.e. on oil and gas platforms and at wind parks, and for off-shore companies that provide services to this sector; and flight crews
- You have a service passport and need to travel to carry out your duties.
- Members of the armed forces
- Staff members of international and humanitarian organizations
- People with compelling reasons to visit their family (exceptional cases). An exceptional case would be to visit a terminally ill family member and to attend their funeral. Family member is understood here to mean a first- or second-degree family member. Partners and children are first-degree family members, and grandchildren are second-degree
- Transit passengers travelling to a third country via The Netherlands or another Schengen country
- People who require international protection (normal border procedures apply)
- People admitted on humanitarian grounds
- Seafarers in possession of a seaman’s record book
- Professionals providing urgent technical assistance in a crucial sector and their specialist knowledge and physical presence are required.
- Students who are coming to The Netherlands for a stay of longer than 3 months, and have a sponsor letter from the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND).
- Highly skilled migrants who are coming to The Netherlands for a stay of longer than 3 months, and have a sponsor letter from the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND).
The following exemptions from the EU entry ban have been suspended:
- Business travelers
- Students who wish to come to The Netherlands to study for a period of less than three months
- Highly skilled migrants who wish to come to the Netherlands for work for a period of less than three months
- Professionals in the cultural and creative sectors
- Non-Dutch nationals who fall under the arrangement for partners in a long-distance relationship.
Travelers in these categories are no longer exempted from the EU entry ban and may not travel to The Netherlands, unless they have proof of permission to enter The Netherlands for one of these purposes and they received this permission before 23 January.
Please note: Even, if you are permitted to travel to The Netherlands because you fall into an exemption category, you may also be required to self-quarantine for 10 days on arrival. This depends on the country you are travelling from.
The treaty officers at the border will determine whether an exception is applicable. It is not possible to get a confirmation in advance to determine if an exceptional category is applicable. Therefore, we recommend assignees that they travel well equipped with documentation to prove their status and reason for travelling.
Highly skilled migrants who will stay in The Netherlands for a period longer than 3 months, have been added to the list of exceptions, however if the assignee needs a MVV visa to travel to The Netherlands and the embassies/consulates abroad are closed due to COVID-19, it is not possible to travel to The Netherlands as a highly skilled migrant without obtaining their MVV visa.
If the highly skilled migrant does not need a MVV visa to travel to The Netherlands, assignees are only allowed to travel with their IND approval letter, a negative COVID-19 tests, a health certificate and a written statement from their employer stating that they need to be in The Netherlands for their work and why. It must also state why the highly skilled migrant cannot come to The Netherlands at a later time.
Via IATA TIMATIC, the airline companies are informed that the IND notification letter for these categories is sufficient for travel and admission to The Netherlands. However, the IND has indicated that this only applies to direct flights to The Netherlands. Other (transit) countries may not accept this proof.
Entry ban United Kingdom, South Africa and South America
A contagious new variant of coronavirus has been detected in The United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil. These new highly contagious variants of the COVID-19 virus are found in the countries mentioned below. Therefore, the Dutch government has decided to ban all travelers from The United Kingdom, South Africa, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela, to prevent these new variants from spreading further in The Netherlands.
This ban will remain in place until 22 February 2021 at the latest. After this period, the Dutch government will then consider whether it is necessary to extend or lift the entry ban.
For now, there only the following exceptions apply for travelling from the countries mentioned above to The Netherlands.
- Healthcare workers and patients.
- Seafarers who possess a seaman’s record book are also exempt if they are travelling in the exercise of their work or travelling to or from their work. The exemption does not apply to seafarers on commercial yachts and pleasure craft.
- People who work in the aviation industry who are travelling in the exercise of their work.
- Flights and ferries to repatriate EU/Schengen nationals
We would like to point out to you that highly skilled migrants are not exempted from this entry ban. This means that they can only enter The Netherlands after this entry ban has been lifted for the countries as mentioned above.
If the Dutch government has an update about the entry ban, we will update you accordingly.
When entering Schiphol Airport, a health certificate and mouth shield is compulsory. Passengers on all inbound and outbound flights in and from The Netherlands are required to fill in a certificate with questions about health complaints that fit in with COVID-19. This health certificate form is provided by the airline prior to boarding. The Netherlands make it compulsory for passengers in the aircraft and at Dutch airports to wear a non-medical mouthpiece during check-in, security and border processes and boarding.
Negative COVID-19 tests
Some travelers must show a negative test result when they enter The Netherlands. These are travelers from a country outside the EU/Schengen that is not on the list of safe countries of the European Union and that is also exempt from the EU entry ban. They must be able to show a negative COVID-19 test result and a statement signed by the traveler when traveling to The Netherlands by plane or ship. This is one of the Dutch measures to prevent the import and spread of the corona virus. The negative test does not yet apply to Dutch nationals and EU residents and their family members who travel (back) from outside the EU/Schengen.
When traveling from a high-risk country the travelers must also show a negative rapid test result when entering The Netherlands. Please find below the conditions for the two types of mandatory COVID-19 tests.
1. PCR test
- Test must have been conducted less than 72 hours before arrival
- The time between samples being collected from the passenger’s nose and/or throat, and the passenger’s arrival in The Netherlands must be no more than 72 hours. The result must be known before the passenger departs for The Netherlands
- Children under 13 do not need a negative test result.
2. Rapid test
- Information that must be provided on the mandatory rapid test result:
- The negative test result must be in English, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish or Dutch. The document must contain the following information:
- Type of test: the test used must be a rapid test (antigen or LAMP) or a PCR test;
- Test result: the test result must be negative (or ‘not detected’) for SARS-CoV-2;
- Passenger’s first and last name as stated in their passport;
- Date and time of test: for passengers, the test must have been conducted no more than 4 hours prior to boarding the aircraft or ferry.
- Logo, stamp or details of the doctor or institute that conducted the test.
- Either a digital or paper copy of the test result may be shown.
- A translation of the test result will be accepted provided the translation bears the original signature or stamp of the doctor or institute that conducted the test.
- The results of self-administered tests are not accepted.
- Children under 13 do not need a negative test result.
At this moment it is mandatory to self-quarantine for ten days if you travel to The Netherlands from countries for which the travel ban has not been lifted and some EU countries. It is possible to shorten the self-quarantine period, by taking a COVID-19 test at the Dutch Health Authority (GGD) on the 5th day of the self-quarantine. When the test result is negative, you can end the self-quarantine.
Some travellers are not required to self-quarantine when they arrive in the Netherlands. Please visit to following website for the exceptions. Self-quarantine upon arrival in the Netherlands | Coronavirus COVID-19 | Government.nl
We would like to point out to you that these COVID-19 measures are changing on a daily base. Therefore, we will monitor the situation with the IND and other government offices closely and inform you of any further developments and the consequences on our services.
Would you like to know more or do you need assistance, please reach out to us!