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New Corona Measures: Coffeeshops Open Till 8 pm For Takeaway

Most measures against covid-19 were relaxed during the summer but now the Netherlands introduced a new range of restrictions to control a second coronavirus wave.

As part of these new restrictions, the sale of alcohol is prohibited after 8 p.m. After that time it is also not allowed to carry or drink alcohol or smoke weed in public places.

Coffeeshops are allowed to stay open for takeaway until 8 p.m.

The new measures also make the wearing of cloth masks mandatory for people 13 years and older in indoor spaces. Some earlier measures, such as keeping 1.5 meters distance from others, still apply as well.

Mayor Wants To Decimate Amsterdam’s Cannabis Industry

Amsterdam mayor, Femke Halsema says she wants to “combat fun tourism” by reducing the demand for cannabis.

According to the mayor, a large proportion of what she calls “fun tourists” is attracted to prostitution in the city center and the “enormous amount of coffeeshops”. That is why she wants to see whether it is possible to make these markets “smaller and more manageable”.

This is what mayor Halsema told local news channel AT5 when asked about the municipality’s aims to keep tourists out of the city center.

After the corona crisis, the municipality doesn’t want ‘fun tourism’ to return to the city. The intention is that establishments and shops will again focus more on the residents of Amsterdam. The municipality wants to achieve this by, among other things, introducing new rules and purchasing buildings.

Halsema says that she is now focusing on the coffeeshops. She sees that there are no fewer than 120 shops in the city center, a large part of which live on tourism. “It doesn’t mean that we just close coffeeshops. But we do try to steer the demand.”

Earlier this year the mayor told the same news channel that she had plans for a large erotic center or a prostitution hotel as an alternative to the city’s Red Light District: A five-story building as the new erotic center of Amsterdam. Here patrons and tourists could not only visit sex workers but also make use of catering facilities, a hairdresser, a beauty salon, and a tanning salon. It would have space enough for about a hundred sex workers.

Although it’s well known by officials that most disturbances in the city center are the result of alcohol abuse, mayor Halsema did not mention the ‘Heineken Experience’, the beer funhouse (with ‘tasting facility’) on the edge of the city center, where tours of the brewery grew to become one of Amsterdam’s most popular international tourist attractions.

Corona Measures: Amsterdam Coffeeshops Open With Restrictions

A slight panic struck Amsterdam’s 420 community when, in the late afternoon of March 15th, the Dutch government announced measures to curb the spread of coronavirus. All establishments in the Netherlands, such as restaurants, bars and coffeeshops, were to be closed by 6 o’clock that evening, and were to remain closed for at least three weeks.

In a last-minute effort to secure some weed or hash in order to have something left to smoke during the impending ‘drought’, people formed long lines outside the city’s cannabis shops. In those queues, which sometimes stretched for tens of metres along the sidewalk and around corners, patrons were not keeping distance from each other. To make matters worse, at some coffeeshops the people waiting outside were being targeted by pushy street dealers who were handing out business cards and promoting their merchandise as the soon-to-be only available alternative. However, the local government took notice of that and quickly recognised the potentially harmful side-effects of a complete coffeeshop lockdown. After some deliberation, it was decided that in the course of following day the shops would be allowed to open again – be it with restrictions:

Takeaway only (no seats, no service, no toilet), everyone is to keep 1.5 metres distance from others and there is a limit on the number of customers that are allowed in the coffeeshop at one time for pickup.
On top of this, most reopened coffeeshops have added their own measures such as the placement of transparent screens on the dealer’s counter and distance markers on the floor.

Relaxing Measures

Prime Minister Mark Rutte recently announced the long awaited relaxation of most restrictions. In public buildings from June 1, a maximum of thirty people will be allowed per room. This means, for example, that movie theatres and concert halls can open again.

In addition, most establishments may also open on June 1st. There is no maximum number of people on the terraces but everyone should sit at a table and keep 1.5 meters apart.

Coffeeshops have to wait two months longer to fully open. They will be allowed to provide public access without capacity restrictions again from September 1st.