Christmas has been cancelled in the Netherlands, with the Dutch prime minister telling the public they cannot cuddle their grandchildren.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte has told the Dutch public that there would be “no cuddling the grandkids” this Christmas after the government effectively cancelled Christmas in The Netherlands.
Lockdown restrictions in the country were extended by the government on Tuesday, and are now only set to expire after the holidays on January 14th.
According to De Telegraaf, the extended measures include the so-called “avondlockdown” or “evening lockdown”, which forces restaurants, cafés, and non-essential retail to close between the times of 5pm and 5am. Supermarkets meanwhile are only allowed to remain open until 8pm.
The government has also requested for schools to close a week early, with primary schools to be closed for the holidays from Monday, and that people work from home where possible.
“This is not the message we wanted to bring at Christmas,” the prime minister told the public. “At the same time, it can’t be a surprise.”
Regarding his demand that there be “no cuddling the grandkids beneath the Christmas tree” for grandparents, Rutte was conciliatory but unapologetic.
“I understand that this is a bitter message,” Politico reports the PM as saying. “But it is absolutely necessary to minimize contact between kids and the elderly.”
WATCH: Europe Erupts Against Lockdowns, Vax Mandates with Protests in Rome, Vienna, Netherlands https://t.co/gxrS4AHym8
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The Netherlands has seen heavy resistance to imposed lockdown measures previously, with Mark Rutte’s reimposition of restrictions preceding violent uproar last month.
The nation was the first European country to reimplement lockdown restrictions, with Rutte also suggesting that narrowing the use of Covid passes to only those who are vaccinated or recovered might be required to curb case numbers.
Anti-lockdown riots have since become an increasingly familiar sight on Dutch streets, with violent protests taking place in cities and towns across the country.
Police have repeatedly been a target of protesters, being pelted with rocks and fireworks, while two protesters were shot by the police during a violent protest in Rotterdam last month.
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Meanwhile, MPs in the United Kingdom voted on Tuesday to implement further Covid restrictions in England. This includes the mandatory use of internal coronavirus passes for nightclubs and large events.
While 96 party backbenchers rebelled against the Conservative government, the largest ever during Boris Johnson’s tenure as prime minister, the measures easily passed with the support of the opposition.
The government is also threatening to narrow eligibility for internal passes within the country, requiring people to be boosted against the Chinese coronavirus in order to bypass lateral flow tests required for the cert.
A timeframe for the narrowing has not yet been published, but Health Secretary Sajid Javid has told parliament that three jabs will be a requirement “once all adults have had a reasonable chance to get their booster jab”.