The shopping streets are empty due to the current lockdown. At most, non-essential stores have their doors open for ‘click and collect’, but customers are not allowed to go beyond the door. Yet in more and more places, shops and catering establishments are flouting the rules.
In Sittard, a number of shops in Steenstraat did open their doors fully on Saturday and today. Some of the customers eagerly took advantage of this. But today, at 3.30 pm, enforcers of the municipality put an end to that situation.
This ‘playful action’, as one of the owners calls it, shows their despondency and discontent. More shops in Sittard will open on Saturday:
In Sittard, the shopkeepers say they experience little support from the municipality. Entrepreneurs do receive this support in, among others, Overijssel and Gelderland. The province of Overijssel calls on the cabinet to end the lockdown as soon as possible.
Deputy Eddy van Hijum says he understands disobedience among entrepreneurs. “If you see your turnover leaking out to a few kilometers across the border in Germany, it brings enormous frustration.”
The mayor of Leeuwarden, Sybrand Buma, also joined the discussion today. In addition to paying attention to care, we argue in favor of balancing the various social, societal and economic effects and looking at the conditions under which society can open safely in the short term”, can be read on the municipality’s website.
“Entrepreneurs and society need perspective”, further stated in an open letter from 21 mayors from Gelderland. They write that the rack is out in the retail, catering, sports and cultural sectors.
In Didam, which is a stone’s throw from the German border, about twenty non-essential shops and catering companies will also open on Saturdays. According to Karin van der Velden of the Gastvrij Didam shopkeepers’ association, they were already toying with that idea, and because the municipality itself said it would not enforce it, the decision was quickly made.
Hospitable Didam has urged the entrepreneurs to use the regular measures properly. Van der Velden: “It would be great if this promotion was rolled out nationally.”
Didam is not the only place where shops and catering will welcome customers; in municipalities such as Aalten, Montferland and Oude IJsselstreek, the entrepreneurs will not be visited by enforcers and shops will open. Non-essential stores in Geleen, Roermond, Katwijk, Apeldoorn and Hoogeveen are also planning to open on Saturday. On Friday there will be a demonstration and several shops will open in Alblasserdam.
On Tuesday there was also a protest from entrepreneurs in Beilen and Barneveld:
The lockdown went into effect on December 19. Now, almost four weeks later, the genie seems to be out of the bottle with shopkeepers and catering entrepreneurs. The support packages are often not sufficient for them. It is also worth noting that much more is allowed in neighboring countries. They point out that it is essential to reopen, otherwise they will remain closed forever.
There will be another cabinet press conference on Friday. Virologists in particular do not like a very quick relaxation, because then a lot of people can become ill in a short time.