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Netherlands to further ease lockdown with cultural venues reopening

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By Euronews with AFP
In this Wednesday, April 28, 2021 file photo, people toast after terraces reopened at midday as the Netherlands began cautiously relaxing restrictions.
In this Wednesday, April 28, 2021 file photo, people toast after terraces reopened at midday as the Netherlands began cautiously relaxing restrictions.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File
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Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Friday that the country's "lockdown" would end from June 5 with the easing of more COVID-19 restrictions.

Museums will be allowed to welcome one visitor per 10 square metres and theatres and cinemas will be able to accommodate a maximum of 50 visitors.

Large venues with 1,000 seats or more, however, may admit up to 250 visitors, 1.5 metres apart, the government said. Indoor spaces at amusement parks, nature parks and zoos will also reopen.

Groups of four will be allowed to meet outside, the government said, and restaurant owners will now be allowed to serve indoors until 10:00 p.m.

"The relaxations that will take effect on June 5 actually mean the end of the lockdown," Rutte said during a press conference.

"We are taking a calculated risk but if the sky falls on our heads next week and the numbers increase again, we will be facing a new situation," he continued.

Since the start of the health crisis, the Netherlands, which has a population of just over 17 million, has recorded more than 1.5 million cases of COVID-19 and more than 17,500 deaths linked to this disease.

But cases and hospitalisations have recently declined with 3,914 new cases on Friday down from between 6,000 and 9,000 daily cases at the beginning of May.

The average number of hospital admissions has been around 115 per day, according to the health ministry.

The Dutch government recently ended the curfew and allowed restaurants and cafes to accommodate patrons on the terrace at the end of last month.

"People like me are looking forward to going to a concert, to eating out," Rutte said.