City of Utrecht News archive
On this page you will find earlier updates on the coronavirus.
Update 27-1: Jaarbeurs to become vaccination centre
Jaarbeurs in Utrecht will be used as a central coronavirus vaccination centre for the inhabitants of Utrecht and surrounding areas. This has been decided by the Municipal Health Service for the Utrecht region (GGDrU) together with the municipality of Utrecht.
GGDrU started vaccinating the 90-plus age group on 26 January. The 85-plus age group will receive a vaccination invitation by the end of this week, with the 80-plus group to follow from 2 February. The remaining groups will be invited incrementally from old to young. Residents of Utrecht will receive their vaccinations in Hall 4 of the Jaarbeurs complex. Up to 2,800 people can get vaccinated every day, depending on the availability of the vaccines. Jaarbeurs is open seven days a week for vaccinations, from 08:00 to 20:00. The vaccination centre is expected to remain in use until the end of August.
Jaarbeurs is already in use as an XL testing site for GGDrU, located in the parking lot behind Jaarbeurs.
Update 25-1: Substantial expansion of support and recovery package
The Dutch cabinet is extending the support package for jobs and the economy considerably.
Update 22-1: Night-time curfew as of Saturday 23 January
On Saturday 23 January a night-time curfew will come into force throughout the Netherlands. The House of Representatives consented to this new measure on friday. This means that everyone has to stay inside between 21.00 and 4.30 o'clock.
Update 20-1: Lockdown measures tightened in response to concerns about new variants of virus
The government is seriously concerned about the British variant of coronavirus, which is even more infectious than the virus we are familiar with in the Netherlands. There are also other variants of the virus that are sparking concern. New measures are needed in order to get these new variants under control.
Update 13-1: Netherlands to remain in lockdown until at least 9 February
The number of people in the Netherlands who get infected with coronavirus is falling slightly. This shows the lockdown is starting to work. Our next task is to quickly reduce the daily infection rates, so that the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals and intensive care units also comes down. The government has therefore decided that the Netherlands will remain in lockdown until at least 9 February.
Update 8-1: Vaccination in Utrecht region has started
GGD regio Utrecht (GGDrU) has started vaccinating healthcare workers in Expo Houten on 8 January.
For more information on the Dutch vaccination program, visit the government website
Update 29-12: A vaccine against COVID-19
GGD Utrecht region (GGDrU) will start vaccinating healthcare workers in Expo Houten at 8 January 2021. This concerns people working in nursing homes, assisted living, disability care, district nursing and social support. They will be the first to receive an invitation for the COVID-19 vaccine. From January 4, they will receive an invitation from their employer.
Update 18-12: Lockdown in order to minimise contact between people
Coronavirus is once again spreading rapidly. In recent weeks, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of infections, with figures up to around 9,000 per day. The number of patients with COVID-19 in hospitals and care homes is also rising. That has an impact on healthcare in general; more than one million routine hospital procedures have had to be postponed. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to trace the source of an infection. But one thing is clear: the more people a person comes into contact with, the greater their chance of being infected. In order to ensure normal healthcare services can continue, we must take action and limit our contact with other people as much as possible. This is why the Netherlands will go into its strictest lockdown yet from 15 December until at least Tuesday 19 January.
Update 30-11: Masks mandatory as of 1 December
As of 1 December 2020, the use of face masks is mandatory. The new government measure is intended to prevent the further spread of the virus. The mask requirement applies to everyone aged 13 and over. Masks are required:
- In all public, indoor spaces such as shops, museums, service stations, restaurants, cafes, theatres, town hall, concert venues and stations. People may remove the mask if they have a fixed seat. In theatres, for example, people may remove their mask once they are seated.
- In secondary education, secondary special education, secondary vocational education and higher education. Pupils, students, teachers and other staff must wear a mask when moving around the school building. The mask may be removed during class, as long as everyone has a fixed seat or position.
- In contact professions such as hairdressers, driving instructors or nail stylists.
The mask must fully cover nose and mouth. Use masks available from the chemist's or supermarket, if possible. A face shield, scarf or bandana does not count as a mask. The mask requirement will remain in effect for three months, after which it may be extended, if necessary. The requirement will be withdrawn once there is no longer a medical need for it.
COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act
The COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act will enter into force on 1 December 2020. This national law provides legal standing for the coronavirus measures. The new law also includes the mask mandate.
As such, the regional emergency ordinance is no longer necessary and will be repealed with effect from 1 December 2020.
Read the government press release (in Dutch)
Update 18-11: new emergency ordinance as of 18 November 2020
As of 23.59 o' clock on 18 November, a new emergency ordinance is in effect throughout the Utrecht Safety Region. Museums, theatres and swimming pools are allowed to reopen after a 2-week closure. The partial lockdown still remains in effect. Among other things, the emergency ordinance contains additional information about:
- The rules for gatherings (e.g. no more than 30 people per room).
- The ban on groups of more than 4 people in public places and outdoors.
- The closure of eating and drinking establishments (specific rules apply for take-away).
- The closure of retail trade from 20.00 to 06.00 (not applicable to the food sector).
- The ban on the sale and distribution of alcohol from 20.00 to 07.00.
- The ban on drinking or being in possession of alcohol in public places from 20.00 to 07.00.
- Sports restrictions, such as the ban on performing sports or exercising in groups of more than 4 people.
- The ban on events.
For more information on the measures, visit the Government website (in Dutch). Questions? Please contact our service desk.
The basic rules still apply: wash your hands, maintain a distance of 1.5 metres, avoid crowds and stay home and get tested if you have symptoms. Everyone is urged to wear a non-medical face mask in all indoor public areas.
Update 6-11: exceptions to the emergency ordinance
A new emergency ordinance will apply to the Utrecht Safety Region as from 6 November at 10.00 pm. This emergency ordinance contains exceptions to the closure of libraries and community centres previously announced on 4 November.
Libraries may remain open for book collection or for organised, private homework support.
Activities that provide individual social support for vulnerable groups may take place in community centres by appointment.
Update 4-11: new emergency ordinance in effect from 4 November
As of 22.00 o 'clock on 4 November, a new emergency ordinance is in effect throughout the Utrecht Safety Region. The emergency ordinance is based on national policy to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Among other things, the emergency ordinance contains additional information about extra measures to speed up the reduction of new infections.
The extra measures are in addition to the measures of 14 October (in Dutch).
The new measures include:
- Stricter rules for groups. Groups outside are limited to 2 people.
- People aged 18 or older may exercise individually or in groups of up to 2 people. Competitions and group classes are not allowed.
- Public places such as cinemas, theatres, museums, amusement parks, zoos and swimming pools must remain closed.
The basic rules still apply: wash your hands, maintain a distance of 1.5 metres, avoid crowds and get tested if you have symptoms.
Update 30-10: €3 million in emergency aid for Utrecht cultural heritage sector
Utrecht is allocating €3 million to help institutions in the cultural heritage sector that have suffered financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Cultural heritage organisations can apply for a subsidy until 22 November 2020,
Update 29-10: every Friday on RTV Utrecht: Coronavirus - question & answer
In each episode of this weekly programme, RTV Utrecht interviews a different guest to answer your questions.
UNieuws Extra: Coronavirus questions & answer is broadcast every Friday at 17.35 o' clock on RTV Utrecht and can be watched live on Facebook and Youtube at 17.30 o'clock. Any questions?
Update 23-10: regulation for terrace expansions extended
Once national measures allow restaurants and bars in Utrecht to open again, they will be able to keep their (temporary) terrace expansions until 1 April 2021. With this, Utrecht extends the period for the temporary terrace expansions.
Business owners who are already making use of the regulation do not have to re-apply. There are some extra conditions. These concern:
- the closing time of the terrace
- sustainable heating of the terrace
- talking to local residents if they are inconvenienced by the terrace
Update 14-10: new emergency ordinance as of 14 October 2020
As from 10:00 pm on 14 October, a new emergency ordinance applies throughout the Utrecht Safety Region. The emergency ordinance is based on national policy to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Among other things, the emergency ordinance contains additional information about:
- the rules with which a gathering must comply (e.g. no more than 30 persons per room)
- the ban on groups larger than 4 persons in public places and outdoors
- the closure of eating and drinking establishments (specific rules apply for take-away)
- the closure of retail trade from 8:00 pm to 6:00 am (not applicable to the food business sector)
- the ban on the sale and distribution of alcohol from 8:00 pm to 7:00 am
- the ban on drinking or carrying alcohol in public places from 8:00 pm to 7:00 am
- sports restrictions, such as the ban on doing sports or exercising in a group of more than 4 persons
- the ban on events
Of course, the basic rules still apply: wash your hands, maintain a distance of 1.5 metres, avoid crowds and get tested in case of symptoms.
Update 13-10: Partial lockdown to reduce infections
The coronavirus has been given too much leeway to spread again. The Cabinet has decided that stricter measures are required to reduce the number of infections. The measures are aimed at reducing gatherings, travel and contact in general. The new rules go into effect at 22:00 on Wednesday 14 October and will remain in effect for at least 2 weeks— longer if necessary.
To make it clear to everyone which measures are in effect at any given time, the Cabinet has also drawn up a roadmap with four risk levels.
Update 5-10: extra measures for Utrecht: evening closure of shops in the city centre and 3 parks
From Wednesday, 7 October, it is forbidden to visit Grift Park, Wilhelmina Park and Lepelenburg Park between 22.00 PM and 6.00 AM. This has been decided by the Utrecht Safety Region. In addition, supermarkets and night shops in the city centre are to close at 22.00 PM on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Update 2-10: urgent advice: wear a mouth covering/face mask whenever you enter somewhere
Throughout the Netherlands, it is recommended to wear a non-medical face mask when entering a publicly accessible space. This recommendation is being further elaborated by the central government. It concerns locations such as:
- shops, museums, municipal and district offices, stations, airports, car parks and petrol stations
- restaurants, cafés, theatres and concert halls, with the exception of people who are seated
- anyplace where people work in contact professions such as hair stylists, beauty professionals and masseurs, and their clients
Update 1-10: exemptions for buildings for concerts and cultural events
Several cultural venues in Utrecht will be allowed to accommodate more than 30 people per room. These places are:
- Tivoli Vredenburg
- De Paardenkathedraal
- Jaarbeurs (only for meetings that are cultural in nature)
- The Netherlands Film Festival in Utrecht is also allowed to go ahead
The chair of the Utrecht Safety Region has granted several exemptions. Such exemptions are granted in moderation. Less social contact is required to reduce the number of infections.
Update 29-9: meeting exemptions
An exemption may be granted for certain meetings with a maximum of 30 persons per independent room.
Update 29-9: new emergency ordinance as of 29 September 2020
As of 29 September, a new emergency ordinance will apply to the Utrecht Safety Region. The emergency ordinance is based on the national policy to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The ordinance contains additional information about:
- the rules governing gatherings
- the size of the groups
- the obligation to register for contact professions
- opening hours of food and drink establishments
There must be no public attendance of sporting events, and sports canteens must remain closed. The Government also urgently recommends limiting home visits to a maximum of 3 guests (excluding children up to the age of 12).
Learn more about the extra measures
It goes without saying that the basic rules remain in force: wash your hands, maintain a distance of 1.5 metres, avoid crowds and get tested in case of symptoms.
Update 28-9: Cabinet amends national rules
On Tuesday 29 September 18.00h, the Cabinet amended the national rules regarding coronavirus in response to a rise in coronavirus cases.
The basic rules remain in effect:
- maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from others
- wash your hands
- avoid crowds
- stay home and get tested if you have symptoms
Update 18-9: Number of coronavirus infections in Utrecht on the rise, additional measures necessary
The number of coronavirus infections in our country is on the rise again, largely due to the fact that not everyone is complying with the rules in place to prevent infection. As a result, the Cabinet has decided to take additional measures in 6 areas in the Randstad area. These measures will also apply in Utrecht.
Update 1-9: Press conference current situation and measures
On 1 September, prime minister Mark Rutte and health minister Hugo de Jonge held a press conference to update the public on the coronavirus pandemic. First, they looked at the current situation, approximately 6 months on from the first confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Netherlands. They then reviewed the measures to prevent a second wave of infections.
Update 18-8: Cabinet amends national rules
On 18 August, the Cabinet amended the national rules regarding coronavirus in response to a rise in coronavirus cases.
The main changes are:
- Maximum of 6 visitors in your home or garden
- If possible, host parties for large groups in a hall with designating seating. Upon arrival, everyone must be asked about their health and must submit their address and phone number.
- If you have been on holiday in an area with a high number of infections, stay at home for 10 days and get tested (this period has been reduced from 14 to 10 days).
- Schoolchildren must stay home if they have symptoms or if someone in their household has coronavirus.
- Continue working from home as much as possible (no end date).
The basic rules remain in effect: Maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from others, wash your hands, avoid crowds and stay home if you have symptoms.
Based on the emergency ordinance, municipal enforcers and police can check for compliance with the measures and, in extreme cases, impose fines.
Update 8-8: new emergency ordinance per 8 August 2020
A new emergency ordinance for the Utrecht Safety Region came into effect on 8 August. The emergency ordinance is based on the national policy to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The emergency ordinance contains rules relating to the hospitality industry, education, study associations and student associations, among other things.
- Both indoors and outdoors, hospitality businesses work with reservations (in advance or at the door), perform health checks and assign fixed seats. All visitors are requested to register. Visitors leave their name and contact details to allow the Municipal Health Service (GGD) to contact them in the event of an infection.
- Study associations and student sports clubs may only organise physical activities aimed at the study or sports programme. Such meetings must be kept small, may not take place between 22:00 and 06:00, and no alcohol may be served or consumed. The management of the relevant educational institution and the chair of the safety region must approve the activities. Student associations are not permitted to hold meetings for recruitment and introduction.
Update 6-8: Cabinet tightens measures
On 6 August, the Cabinet announced stricter measures in response to an increasing number of coronavirus cases.
The main changes are:
- Student associations are not permitted to hold in-person meetings for recruitment and introduction. As a result, the activities during the UIT days and the introductory period (KMT) in Utrecht can only take place online. The exact conditions under which in-person informational meetings can be held by educational institutions, sports clubs and study associations are still being worked out in further detail.
- Hospitality businesses must require guests to make reservations in advance and register upon arrival. Guests will receive a health check and will be assigned a seat.
Update 4-8: UIT days and coronavirus
On 3 and 4 August, Mayor Peter den Oudsten and alderman Klaas Verschuure spoke with student associations about the upcoming UIT week and the Utrecht Introduction Period. The subject of discussion was how to prevent the spread of coronavirus as much as possible.
In preparation of these discussions, we obtained advice from the Municipal Health Service for the Utrecht region (GGDrU). The GGDrU indicates that coronavirus is currently spreading again in the Netherlands, including in Utrecht. The number of cases is growing, which is cause for concern. Following the relaxation of the coronavirus measures, we are seeing that people seem to care less about the basic rules which are still in effect. The result is a worrying increase in cases, particularly among young people in the Utrecht region. Over the past few days, approximately half of the people who tested positive were between 17 and 35 years old. Age does not offer immunity. The so-called "infection clusters" mainly occur after gatherings at home, party venues or in hospitality establishments.
Next week is the UIT week, and we will be welcoming future students to our city from all over the country. The city council considers it important that students get to know the city in a pleasant way, and that new students can arrive here and get to know their fellow students in a safe and healthy manner.
Due to coronavirus, the UIT week will be very different this year. The introduction to the city and the student associations will be mostly digital. Several student associations have applied for a permit for an outdoor activity; these requests mainly involve terraces in public spaces. These outdoor meetings are well organised and can proceed under strict conditions. For example, there will be no alcohol served, and health checks will be carried out. The coronavirus measures also apply to hospitality venues: there should be no singing or dancing, and social distancing rules must be observed.
We also discussed indoor meetings with the student associations, such as accommodation, house parties and communal meals. The associations have agreed not to include such activities in their programmes. The meetings were held with the following student associations: Biton, NSU, UVSV, SSR-NU, Triton, UMTC, USC, Unitas S.R. and C.S. Veritas.
Update 15-7: new emergency ordinance per 15 July 2020
A new emergency ordinance for the Utrecht Safety Region came into effect on 15 July. The new ordinance includes rules on:
- Meetings in hospitality venues or events. There are specific rules for such activities, including assigned seating or a demarcated area.
- The ban on singing or screaming in chorus in public spaces.
- Public transport and the use of face masks.
- Access to nursing homes and housing for elderly care.
The general rule is still: keep 1.5 metres distance between yourself and others, avoid crowds and follow the hygiene rules.
Based on the emergency ordinance, municipal enforcers and police can check for compliance with the measures and, in extreme cases, impose fines.
Update 25-6: 1.5 metres remains the norm
We can make steps to ease the measures regarding the corona virus. With general rules for inside and outside. These are still needed because the corona virus has not disappeared.
The basic rules remain:
- If you have any symptoms: stay home and have yourself tested as soon as possible.
- Keep a distance of 1.5 metres from each other.
- Wash your hands regularly.
- Work from home as much as possible.
- Avoid crowded places and avoid travelling during rush hour whenever possible.
Separate rules have been drawn up for indoor and outdoor activities.
Read more about the measures and exceptions on the website of the government.
Update 28-5: new emergency ordinance from 1 June
A new emergency ordinance will go into effect on 1 June. The new ordinance contains the relaxed measures that offer everyone a little more freedom. The basic principles remain unchanged: keep 1.5 metres apart, avoid crowds and apply the hygiene rules.
The following changes go into effect on 1 June:
- The ban on gatherings in public spaces (parks, squares, on the street) no longer applies. Residents can meet up in parks again to picnic or talk, for example. However, everyone should keep a distance of 1.5 metres from others. The distance rule does not apply to people from the same household.
- Restaurants and cafés are allowed to open again at 12:00 on 1 June. Indoor seating is limited to a maximum of 30 guests (excluding staff) and advance booking is required. Everyone must keep 1.5 metres apart (except people from the same household).
- There is no maximum number of guests for terraces. Everyone must be seated at a table at a distance of 1.5 metres from others (except people from the same household).
- Student associations may meet up again from 1 June. The same applies here: A maximum of 30 people may attend, maintaining a distance of 1.5 metres.
- Film, theatre and concert halls may reopen. A maximum of 30 people are allowed in a room/hall. Visitors have to book in advance, and everyone must keep a distance of 1.5 metres. Museums and monuments are allowed to open if visitors pre-book a specific time slot. Other public buildings such as the petting zoos, music schools and community centres are also reopening with a maximum of 30 visitors per entire building/site.
- Secondary schools and special secondary education will reopen on 2 June. Primary schools will open completely on 8 June. Schools must take measures to keep the 1.5-metre distance. The out-of-school care will also open again on 8 June.
- Multifunctional buildings that, for example, house both childcare and a community centre may open again under certain conditions, as can public toilets at nature reserves, parks, beaches and marinas.
- As of 1 June, travellers aged 13 and older are required to wear a face mask on public transport. This does not apply to stations, stops and platforms, where everyone must keep 1.5 metres apart.
The ban on events remains in force
The current national ban on events has been extended to 1 September 2020. Events such as festivals, fairs and street parties cannot take place. Note: a gathering of a number of people in a public space turns into an event if an organiser makes provisions such as a music system or a bar. Events are not only gatherings that require a permit, but also include street markets or street parties, for example. Saunas and other wellness facilities will also remain closed.
Emergency ordinance for the Utrecht Safety Region
The measures have been laid down in a new emergency ordinance for the Utrecht Safety Region (Veiligheidsregio Utrecht). These measures rely on everyone taking responsibility and abiding by the rules for the sake of all our health. Under the new emergency ordinance, municipal enforcers and the police can check for compliance with the measures and have the authority to issue fines in extreme cases.
Update 20-5: extension of terrace space for hospitality
Hospitality businesses in Utrecht can temporarily extend their terraces. They can apply for this at the hospitality office (email@example.com) from Friday 22 May. Companies must meet several conditions to be eligible, such as keeping the city accessible and safe for everyone.
Update 20-5: extension of Tozo scheme
On 20 May, the Cabinet announced an extension of the temporary bridging scheme for independent entrepreneurs (Tozo). You cannot yet apply for this extension. There are slightly different rules, such as a partner income evaluation. This means that we need to modify our form and set up the back-end processes. Once this is ready, we will announce it on our website. We expect to be able to process Tozo applications by 10 June.
Update 20-5: principles for 1.5-metre measures in public
Coronavirus measures are being relaxed step by step. The streets and public spaces are becoming more crowded. At the same time, we still need to stay 1.5 metres away from each other. This creates new dilemmas. To that end, the city council has established 6 principles to help take quick decisions regarding temporary measures. Based on these principles, we can take clear action in the coming days and weeks.
There are 6 important principles:
- health, safety and accessibility come first
- we prioritise pedestrians and cyclists
- we prioritise movement over stationary uses of space
- we support where possible and regulate where necessary
- we redistribute the limited space first, and only redesign spaces if necessary
- measures will be based on monitoring
Update 19-5 : Temporarily increased space for pedestrians in the city centre
One-way traffic for pedestrians in narrow streets, pedestrian "roundabouts" and waiting zones in front of stores; these are just a few of the measures being taken by the city of Utrecht to give visitors and residents enough space. This is necessary to make entering the city safe and responsible. There will also be route markers, information signs and public guides to advise visitors on the new rules. People are still advised to avoid crowds.
Update 11-5: New emergency ordinance
On 6 May, the government decided to further relax the coronavirus measures. As of 11 May, the following is in effect:
- Primary schools and special education for children up to 12 years old will reopen under certain conditions, as will childcare venues.
- People aged 19 and older can practice sports and exercise outside, as long as they keep 1.5 meters away from others. Matches and competitions are not allowed, nor are spectators. Elite athletes are allowed to resume training at their training locations.
- Visits to shops and libraries are permitted, as long as people can keep 1.5 metres away from others.
- Zoos, nature parks and amusement parks are allowed to open, provided that measures have been taken to ensure a 1.5-metre distance between visitors. Opening should not result in excessive traffic on the road, in the car park or on public transport.
- Scouting, cultural clubs, art clubs and other youth clubs or professionals are allowed to organise supervised outdoor activities for people up to 18 years old.
- Swimming pools are allowed to open, subject to the 1.5-metre rule and other measures. Communal washing and shower facilities will remain closed.
- Hairdressers, driving instructors, physiotherapists and beauty specialists can resume work by appointment only, on the condition that they maintain a 1.5-metre distance between customers.
All of the above is only allowed if people can keep at least 1.5 metres away from others. The hygiene rules also remain in effect.
The current national ban on events has been extended until 1 September 2020. Events such as festivals, fairs and street parties are still forbidden. Saunas and other wellness facilities will also remain closed.
The measures are laid down in a new emergency ordinance for the Utrecht Safety Region, which you can read in the 'noodverordening' (pdf). For the sake of all our health, these measures rely on everyone taking responsibility and abiding by the rules. Under the new emergency ordinance, municipal enforcers and the police can check for compliance with the measures, with the authority to issue fines where necessary.
As of 28 April, outdoor sports were already allowed for youth up to 18 years old, as long as it is organised and supervised. However, children aged 13 to 18 years old must still keep 1.5 metres away from others. For sports that involve close contact, the training methods must be adapted. Sports clubs will make agreements to that end with municipalities and other parties for outdoor sports and exercise.
View more extensive information and explanation of the new measures for the Netherlands on the website of the national government.
Update 21-4: Limited relaxation of measures to control the corona virus
The Dutch government has decided to extend most measures until May 19. In the week before May 19, the government will assess what measures are necessary after May 19. The most important changes are these.
- Primary schools, including primary schools for children with special needs, and childcare will reopen on May 11.
- Secondary schools can prepare for students to come back to school on Tuesday June 2.
- From April 29, children in the ages up to and including 12 are allowed to train together and do not have to keep a distance of 1.5 meters.
- From April 29, youth in the ages from 13 up to and including 18 are allowed to train in an organized way and keep a distance of 1.5 meters.
What does not change?
- Events pose a risk of a widespread and rapid spread of the virus. The current ban on events that require a permit or notification, is extended to September 1.
- Hair dressers and other professions with physical contact: no visits until May 19.
- Care homes: no visits until May 19.
Update 7-4: Letter mayor about coronavirus
Empty schoolyards, shopping areas where you can hear a pin drop and terrace chairs piled up everywhere, and the most beautiful spring weather. It is and remains an unusual contrast. The fact that disinfected shopping carts are the new norm in the supermarkets is something I could get used to, but at the same time, all these things remain unreal.
The measures, the Prime Minister said on Tuesday evening, will remain in effect for the next four weeks. And there's a good reason for that. My heart goes out to doctors, nurses and employees working in home care and at nursing homes. They are now often working double shifts and continue to care for the health of the people of Utrecht - knowing that they could also become ill. And teachers who are staying digitally connected to the girls and boys in the class and doing their best to continue teaching. They are today's heroes. As are the women and men that monitor the public spaces in the city and our safety region.
Everyone knows someone who has been personally affected or is even ill. Call Utrecht residents who are infected with the coronavirus. While some individuals are (very understandably) concerned or still feel ill and others try to stay positive, some are perhaps even ready to go back to work (whether or not from home). It is admirable how they and their environment are getting through this.
I'm impressed with their care for their environment and loved ones. 'I'm okay' they assure me, 'but I'm so worried about ...'. Because now they cannot be with their sick mother in the north of the country or a father who lives alone.
The deserted streets, schoolyards and parks prove that most take the coronavirus seriously. You keep your distance, avoid groups and work at home or teach the children at home. And - unfortunately - no visits from family and friends or the children's party that your child had been looking forward to for months.
And the beautiful spring weather doesn't make it any easier either. But most of you resist temptation because you know these measures are there to protect us all. Together we can flatten the curve, so that everyone in healthcare can continue to do their job well. It takes a lot of self-discipline and the courage to talk to each other about it. We have that, and I would like to compliment everyone.
I also have a lot of appreciation for all Utrecht residents who continue their lives as usual despite everything. And are there for others. Volunteering at a food bank, delivering meals to people who have difficulty walking, or calling elderly people for a friendly chat. Children who craft presents or write a card to their grandfather or grandmother, make music or sing at a nursing home. In one word, heartwarming. You, who, despite everything stay positive, follow the guidelines (no matter how difficult), look after each other, and are there for people who need your help and attention - perhaps more than ever: you are all in your own way 'heros'.
That gives me hope and confidence that we as a city, we Utrechters, will get through this difficult time together.
Stay positive. Take care of yourselves, be mindful of others and be kind to each other. Let's take good care of our city together.
With warm regards,
Jan van Zanen, Mayor of Utrecht
Update 3-4: Extra measures in public spaces
Utrecht city parks and green areas remain open for now. The municipality is taking extra precautions in public spaces to control the coronavirus. Extra electronic message boards will be placed in parks and rural estates.
Public conveniences are closed. The public water taps, Join the Pipes, are turned off. Water features in play grounds are closed. The tow path along the river Kromme Rijn is closed to pedestrians.
The path is too narrow for people to keep 1,5 metres distance from each other.
Update 31-3: Coronavirus measures extended up until April 28
The measures of the government to protect against coronavirus are extended up until April 28.
Extending the measures is necessary in order to control the spread of coronavirus, to protect vulnerable groups and to make sure that healthcare professionals and hospitals can deal with the pressure.
This means that:
- Sports facilities, businesses serving food and drink and day-care centres must remain closed.
- Schools must remain closed until at least the May vacation.
- The ban on events remains valid until the first of June, and in the week before April 28 the government will decide what measures are necessary for the next period.
- Stay at home as much as possible, follow the rules, keep 1.5 metres distance from each other and avoid crowds.
Update 24-3: New rules for markets
Street markets are still being held. However, the measures for markets are tightened.
- Only food is allowed to be sold.
- You cannot eat bought food at the market.
- The cloth market, the flower markets at Janskerkhof and Oudegracht, are all cancelled.
- The 1,5 metres distance rule also applies at markets.
- Do not visit the market if you have a cold or a fever.
Update 23-3: Government tightens corona measures
Today, the government has taken extra measures to control the coronavirus. This means:
- All events and meetings are cancelled until June 1, 2020 (regardless of the number of participants).
- The authorities will take action against groups of 3 or more people, who do not keep the required 1.5 metres distance from each other. This does not apply to children or to people who share a household, such as families.
- A maximum of 3 people may visit your home, but they do need to keep a distance of 1.5 metres.
- People are asked to stay at home as much as possible. They are only allowed to go outside to run errands, go to work (if they work in a crucial sector) or to take care of others.
- You can go outside to get some fresh air, but not in a group.
- People must stay at least 1.5 metres away from each other outside, in shops and in public transport.
- Hairdressers and nail salons are closed until April 6.
- The mayor can enforce compliance with the rules, for example by imposing a fine.
- If a person in the family has a fever, the whole family should stay at home.
View more extensive information and explanation of the new measures on the website of the government.
Update 22-3: maintain a 1,5 metres distance
Again the municipality urges its inhabitants to follow the rules and regulations set by the government. People who have a cold, who cough or have a fever, should stay at home. If you are not ill, you can go outside, but it is very important everybody abides by the rules. Therefore don't gather in a large groups, do not touch and keep a 1,5 metres distance from each other.
Update 20-3: The city of Utrecht announced local emergency support measures for entrepreneurs
Update 17-3: New economic measures being taken by the Government
On 17 March 2020, the government decided to take exceptional economic measures as a result of the coronavirus. The aim is to protect our jobs and income in addition to our health and to minimise the impact of the consequences for self-employed professionals, SME entrepreneurs and large companies.
Update 16-3: Services remain limited and no council meetings
No council meetings
Scheduled meetings and other meetings will not be held until 7 April. No council meetings, no committee meetings and no information meetings 26 March and 2 and 7 April. Necessary decisions will, of course, be taken. The democratic process will continue, digitally. More information will follow as soon as possible.
Our services remain limited. The city hall and the Vleuten-De Meern district service centre are open. There will be cases where we will have to limit some of our services for people's safety. We are following the national government guidelines.
Update 15-3: New measures
Additional measures have been announced to curb the spread of the coronavirus. These can be found on the RIVM website. The most important measures at a glance:
- Stay at home with symptoms such as a cold or a cough, even if you have no fever. Only call your GP if the symptoms get worse.
- Work from home as much as possible or spread out working hours.
- Limit visits to the elderly and those with ill health. These people are also advised to avoid gatherings and public transport.
- Keep an appropriate distance where possible, for example when shopping. Maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from others.
- All schools and childcare facilities will be closed. Children with parents who are key workers will still be looked after there. You will find a list of key workers on the National Government's website (Rijksoverheid).
- HBO and university educational institutions should offer their lectures online as much as possible.
- All food and beverage outlets will be closed.
- Sports and fitness clubs, saunas and sex clubs will be closed. Coffeeshops will only remain open for pick-up.
The measures apply nationwide and will be in force until 6 April.
Update 15-3: Services remain available
The services of the municipality of Utrecht remain available to residents and businesses. The main city office (stadskantoor) nearby Central Station and the district service centre is open. Some adjustments have been made because of the coronavirus, in line with the guidelines of the Central Government (rijksoverheid.nl).
Do you have an appointment at the city office?
We ask you not to come if you have complaints such as a cold, cough, or fever. If this applies to you, please cancel your appointment online. If it is urgent, contact the telephone number 14030.
There are fewer available appointment times. So please bear in mind:
- Only make an appointment if it is really necessary or urgent. (If you already have an appointment and it is urgent, for example, a birth or death declaration, then do not cancel your appointment.)
- If you cannot to come to an appointment, please cancel it via your confirmation email.
The waiting time on the telephone at the Customer Contact Centre is longer than usual. We ask for your understanding.
What goes on as usual?
- The clinics (consultation offices; health checks for babies and children) are open.
- Waste collection continues on the normal schedules and routes. The 3 recycling/disposal centres in the city are open.
- The markets will be held as usual. Visitors are asked to keep their distance from each other.
- Wardens will patrol the streets as usual.
What is different?
- Meetings and events with more than 100 people are cancelled.
- Public locations such as museums, concert halls and theatres are closed.
- Swimming pools are closed.