The Corona Steps: Explained
|Date:||17 June 2020|
We’ve gradually been experiencing some changes over time, since the initial lockdown back in March. A lot of safety measures were implemented, and now, they’re slowly being taken down. With changes happening almost every two weeks, it might be hard to keep track of what’s going on in the Netherlands. The Dutch government is implementing these new liberties in 4 big initial steps, and if you’re still confused about it, don’t worry. It’s all summarized right here! At the moment, we’re smack in the middle of the official Dutch roadmap, so let’s check out what we’ve been through, and what we’ll see in the future:
Step 1: May 11 - The first taste of freedom
On May 11, the Netherlands entered Step 1 of the plans to gradually return to normal day-to-day activities. After months of being in quarantine, this first step felt like a breath of fresh air, because it literally was. One of the most important things for students in Groningen was that people were allowed to exercise outside, always keeping the 1.5m distance, of course. This meant that you could once again go out for a run through the Noorderplantsoen, or go workout with your buddy at the outdoor gym next to the Dot. For younger students, and by that I mean children, it meant that they could once again return to their schools and daycare centers (big breath of fresh air for parents). Libraries across the country were allowed to return to very limited operations, and hairdressers and beauticians could once again open for business. Yay for self-care!
Step 2: June 1 - Social life, is that you? (yes, this is us, currently).
A few weeks after this first taste of freedom, we were reminded that our social lives did exist. Groningen was pretty much a ghost town for a while, compared to its regular dynamic and student-filled atmosphere. For many, the fact that the temperatures were getting warmer, the sun was shining, and they still couldn’t properly enjoy the city in its best months was pretty frustrating. However, Step 2 brought back some liberties that everyone was craving: people could now go out for social purposes. Terraces, restaurants, cafés, theatres, and concert halls all were allowed to re-open, which meant that Groningen got some of its life back! Sure, the 1.5 meter measures still apply, but meeting your friends for a coffee or a beer in the sun is once again a possibility, and that feels like a win. The catch is that these things must be planned with anticipation, meaning that for most places, you must reserve or buy a ticket in advance.
Step 3: July 1 - Get the gang back together
Step 2 was a big one. We went from having almost everything closed, to now having plenty of options of places to visit and leave the house. Step 3, which is scheduled to begin on July 1st, is basically a small update to Step 2. Instead of allowing only 30 people, restaurants, cafés, and theatres will be able to host up to 100 people. You might be getting tired of hearing this, but yes, the 1.5 meter distance will still apply. It might mean that larger groups of people will be allowed. Larger groups of friends will be glad to know that they can hang out all together once again, without having to split up or exclude some people. By this time, Summer will be well underway. For some, camping was a staple activity during the summer. The good news is that campsites across the country will open again. If you’re staying in Groningen, this might be a good idea to add into your summer plans!
Step 4: September 1 - Sports, finally!
Step 4 is the holy grail for sports enthusiasts. Whether you’re a “ball is life” type, or a “gym bro”, you’ll be extra happy when September 1st comes, because it means that sports will come back. The gyms will be allowed to open, and they’ll probably be full of people ready to build up endurance again. Don’t worry, you won’t miss it. Everyone who goes back to the gym will 100% spam your IG feed with stories about it. Aside from gyms, indoor and contact sports will be permitted once again (@Aclo, we miss you). For the football fanatics, football will come back, but matches will be played with closed-doors. However, after months of virtually no entertainment, It’ll certainly be nice to be able to hit a pub and watch a match with your buddies.
A final note: Did you notice a theme in common?
Yep, that’s right, the 1.5m measures will continue to apply throughout all the steps. Even if 100 people are allowed, some spaces will be too small to fit these large numbers of people while still keeping the 1.5m measures. As these steps happen, you’ll be noticing these differences. Even though these measures are general, we advise you to always check the places you want to visit for their own rules and regulations well ahead of time so that you’re prepared. Keep in mind that this scheduled roadmap is tentative, and will only work as long as people still are responsible with the safety measures. So of course, if you or one of your housemates has a fever, please stay home! Our liberties will slowly come back if we all collaborate and stay safe.