Letter from Mayor Tjapko Poppens 26 March 2020
Dear Citizens of Amstelveen,
Corona has a great impact on our daily lives. This creates uncertainty, not the least because we do not know how long this will last. The economic and social impact for Amstelveen is considerable. In addition, the number of people in Amstelveen who are ill is also increasing. I fully sympathise with them and wish them a speedy recovery.
Corona affects us all. Anyone can be infected, regardless of age, origin, religion or gender. Anyone can get the virus and spread it. Our elderly and infirm are the most vulnerable and we all need to help and protect them.
The coming weeks are crucial. This letter outlines the most important new nation-wide measures, and the extra measures that apply in the Amsterdam-Amstelland region and also in Amstelveen.
I make an urgent appeal to you all.
Stay inside as much as you can!
As you all know, we have to do this together to ensure that our hospitals, and especially our intensive care units, remain able to cope, and that as few people as possible fall ill.
Please stay indoors as much as you can, unless you really can't. You can go outside for work, to go shopping or for a short walk in the fresh air.
- Children under the age of twelve can play outside.
- For all young people and adults: keep at 1.5 meters distance from other people. Wherever you are and whatever you do.
- Group formation of three or more people is not allowed, unless you form a household together. By a group, the government cabinet means three or more persons who do not keep at a distance of 1.5 metres.
- Shops/public transport
Shops that are still open must take measures to ensure that everyone keeps a distance of 1.5 metres. If not, enforcement measures will be applied. The same applies to public transport.
- Contact professions
Hairdressers and other 'contact professions' such as nail studios, beauticians and tattoo shops are not allowed to practice their profession until at least April 6. Physiotherapists must work 'as much as possible' via video images. And casinos will also be subject to the same rules as the hospitality industry from now on.
No events will take place until 1 June. King's Day, the National Commemoration on 4 May and Liberation Day will not take place in the usual way.
- Religious meetings
Religious gatherings with more than 30 people are no longer allowed. This also applies to (church) funerals and weddings. The reason why more than three persons are allowed to come together at these gatherings is because religious freedom is laid down in the constitution. However, for the sake of public health, I would strongly discourage all religious groups from holding meetings, no matter how much I understand the need for comfort and support.
The fact that the vast majority of synagogues and churches have already switched to online services is much appreciated. I appeal to everyone to continue to do so. It is essential that we meet physically as little as possible.
The maximum of 30 people also applies to (church) funerals and weddings.
Additional regional measures
We still see places in our city where too many people congregate. The government cabinet has instructed the chairmen of the safety regions to use their special powers to take additional measures if necessary. These are the following additional measures for the Amsterdam-Amstelland region and also for Amstelveen:
Only food may be sold at markets. Markets therefore remain an important part of the food supply. Stalls where non-food is sold will temporarily disappear from markets to create more space. This also applies to the Friday market and the organic market.
- Fitness equipment in parks/outside area are closed
In the outdoor area, visitors are free to use public fitness equipment. Under normal circumstances, these are places where people can improve their condition. Now these are places that can damage people's health because the equipment is not kept clean and because the places where the equipment is located attract several people at the same time, so the distance of 1.5 meters between people is hard to maintain.
- Football cages and panna-football fields are closed
Under normal circumstances, these places are of particular value to our residents. Sport brings us together and keeps us fit. Based on recent observations, the management regards the fenced football and basketball cages and the panna-football fields as a risk for the spread of the coronavirus. Not only during the day, when too many young people play sports in a small area, but also in the evening when groups are hanging out too close together. Playgrounds and sports fields that are open to the public without fences will not be fenced off. They are, however, checked more intensively in order to prevent the formation of groups and crowds.
- Sports fields and parks
All managed sports fields of clubs such as sports associations have been closed since a few weeks. Despite the closure, many residents make use of them in their spare time. Because too many people are too close to each other on these fields, enforcement is intensified at these locations.
- Camera surveillance
Camera surveillance can be set up in places with concerns about continued crowding. If necessary, additional measures will be taken at those locations as well.
Our police and enforcement officers will issue fines if the rules are not followed. If you do not comply with the safe distance of 1.5 meters, you can face a heavy fine.
I would like to express my great appreciation for the people in care, education and day care, in the emergency services, the cleaners, the media, in the supermarkets and everywhere else, they keep our country and our city running. For the people who live in nursing homes and care institutions and can no longer receive visitors, I would like to say: e think of you, and I call on everyone to fight loneliness among Amstelveen citizens. Would you like to help? Look for the options on the page Overzicht hulpinitiatieven (Dutch page).
If you have concerns, if you have useful tips for the city or questions about the coronavirus? Ask your question by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fortunately, I see that most Amstelveen citizens take their responsibility and stick to the rules, even though it's not always easy. Working at home, running a household with children and making sure that the whole family observes the RIVM's advice. Despite the fact that we are in a difficult situation, I also see tremendous resilience in our society. All kinds of social initiatives are being set up to help each other. Also all kinds of digital initiatives are being created to reach out to each other and support each other.
I am proud of Amstelveen and how we are coping with this situation. The time will come when we can all go out again, celebrate postponed birthdays, weddings and other parties. Let's look forward to that.
I wish you all the very best.
Mayor of Amstelveen
If you should like to stay updated, please visit the RIVM website.