SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Travelling to other EU countries will be easier from Tuesday after the Dutch government changed the rules for its coronavirus risk alert system.
All of the other 26 nations will be coded green or yellow, including those that are currently orange such as Spain, Cyprus, Portugal and Andorra. It means visitors will no longer run the risk of needing to go into quarantine if a country they are staying in suddenly changes colour.
However, the rules for yellow zone countries are being tightened so that travellers will have to produce a negative coronavirus test, proof of vaccination or proof that they have recently recovered from the disease before they come home.
Anyone who is unable to produce a coronavirus certificate or QR code when they cross the border risks a €95 fine. Mobile teams will be carrying out spot checks at road crossings.
Dutch tourists also face restrictions in other countries because of the Netherlands’ high infection rate. From Tuesday unvaccinated travellers to Germany will have to spend 10 days in quarantine unless they leave again within 24 hours, while those going to Bulgaria will have to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative PCR test.
Health minister Hugo de Jonge said the new rules would give more security to people planning holidays who could not afford to take the risk of having to quarantine on their return.
‘But also more security for ourselves to prevent a new wave in the autumn,’ he added. Everyone who comes back from a trip abroad this summer is advised to take a test when they return, and those who have not been vaccinated should take a second test after five days, De Jonge said at a press conference on Monday.
‘Whether or not you’ve been vaccinated, you can still bring the virus home in your suitcase.’ The government also announced the cancellation of all multi-day summer festivals until September 1.
A decision on one-day festivals will be taken on August 13. Prime minister Mark Rutte said it had not been possible to set up a reliable system of repeated testing for festival goers who camp overnight.
‘Unfortunately, it’s not responsible to allow these events to go ahead,’ he said. The cabinet has made €400 million available to compensate event organisers for the lost revenue.
Representatives of the industry said the decision was a ‘bitter pill’, but accepted the reasoning behind it, given the rapid surge in cases after the rules were briefly relaxed at the end of June.