City of Utrecht News archive

On this page you will find earlier updates on the coronavirus.


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.
  • Education.
  • 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 (horecaloket@utrecht.nl) 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.

View the principles for 1.5-metre measures in public

There are 6 important principles:

  1. health, safety and accessibility come first
  2. we prioritise pedestrians and cyclists
  3. we prioritise movement over stationary uses of space
  4. we support where possible and regulate where necessary
  5. we redistribute the limited space first, and only redesign spaces if necessary
  6. 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.

More information

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.

Schools

  • 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.

Sport

  • 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.

Read more about the corona measures: www.government.nl


Update 7-4: Letter mayor about coronavirus

Dear Utrechters,

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.

Visit the website of the government for more information


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

You can read the letter with the measures here (pdf, 244 kB)
English site for businesses


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.

More information for businesses


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. 

Services

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.