Going Dutch may never be the same again as bars and restaurants all over the Netherlands opened for the first time in almost three months to celebrate the country’s sunny Pinksteren (Whit) public holiday Monday.
Few European countries enjoy summertime terrace drinking and dining quite like the Dutch do. Amsterdam’s picturesque canal side open air cafes were re-opening in time to catch early summer Mediterranean temperatures.
Restaurants, bars, museums, cinemas and theatres in the Netherlands were allowed to open their doors from 1000 GMT on Monday June 1, reflecting a steady drop in the number of new coronavirus infections in recent weeks.
But openings were also mirroring a ‘new normal’ with strict social distancing rules in force and specially adapted tables divided in four rolled out on terraces to keep guests apart and prevent a new rise in infections.
‘Going Dutch’ is the traditional practise of everyone paying for themselves often down to the last few cents.
Now many establishments have insisted on cash free payments to prevent infection and a one bill transaction will become the norm .
Even cities large café-restaurants with extensive outdoor terrace seating were only allowed receive a maximum of 30 customers at a time.
Patrons are being required to make advance reservations and be seated at tables placed at a minimum of 1.5 metres (5ft) between them.
Requirements also demand that no more than two people from different households can meet up for a pilsje (glass of beer)a cup of coffee or a meal.
Customers showing symptoms of COVID-19 are supposed to be turned away.
No exact limit is set on the number of people allowed on outdoor terraces, as long as all customers are seated and tables are kept at the required distance.
Despite the imposition of rules that would have appeared draconian in the past photographs of smiling people enjoying cafe life again all over the Netherlands said it all.
Dutch schools, restaurants, bars, museums and other public places in the country had been closed since March 15 in an attempt to limit the coronavirus outbreak.
Secondary schools in the Netherlands are also reopened and limited public transport throughout the lockdown have returned to normal timetables. Commuters not wearing masks are to be denied access to Dutch buses and trains.