Hundreds of people protest the new Covid-19 pass to enter bars and restaurants in the Netherlands
The Hague – Protesters gathered to demonstrate on Saturday against the introduction of a ‘corona pass’ in the Netherlands as proof of COVID-19 vaccination became mandatory to enter bars, restaurants, theaters and other places.
The new requirement to show the pass, or a recent negative coronavirus test, coincided with the lifting of almost all social distancing measures in the country, where 72% of the population has received at least one dose of the vaccine.
While face masks will still be mandatory on public transport, students and teachers will no longer have to wear masks in schools, and a distance rule of 1.5 meters (almost 5 feet) in public also has been deleted.
Several hundred demonstrators gathered in The Hague, seat of the Dutch government, to march through the city center.
Most Dutch support the introduction of the admission pass, but it has drawn criticism from the hotel industry.
More than 40% of bar and restaurant owners do not intend to ask customers for the vaccination certificate, the country’s hotel industry association Horeca Nederland said, citing a survey of its members.
He said many companies saw the requirement as a “policy tool” to boost vaccine uptake.
“It is not only impossible to enforce, but it will financially harm a sector which is just starting to recover,” the association added in a statement.
The decision to introduce the pass has also drawn criticism within the government of interim Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
“If we find ourselves in a society where we have to be afraid of each other unless we can prove it, then you really have to scratch your head and ask yourself: is this the direction in which we want to go?” Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Mona Keijzer said in a newspaper interview.