Dutch government eases lockdown, opening shops, gyms and hairdressers

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By Euronews  with AFP
FILE- Closed restaurants because of a lockdown forced people to eat outdoors next to a closed shop in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
FILE- Closed restaurants because of a lockdown forced people to eat outdoors next to a closed shop in Amsterdam, Netherlands.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File

Shops, hairdressers and gyms will be allowed to reopen in the Netherlands but bars and restaurants must stay closed, the Dutch government said, as it announcing an easing of one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe.

Bars, restaurants, museums and theatres will remain closed until at least 25 January, the government said.

“I understand very well that it feels completely unfair after all those long months of closure and after all that effort to open safely," said Prime Minister Mark Rutte about the hospitality industry.

The country spent both Christmas and New Years' in lockdown but from Saturday, shops will be able to reopen until 17:00.

Schools also reopened earlier in the week.

The Netherlands has been reporting more than 30,000 new daily COVID-19 infections, an all-time record since the beginning of the pandemic.

Hospitalisations were high in early December but have since decreased.

Around 86% of the Netherlands' adult population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and around 46% have received a booster.

Additional sources • AP