Lecture halls will soon be fully occupied again. Photo: DUB

Even less rules: lecture halls allowed to be fully occupied again

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From next Friday (February 18), bars and cafés will be allowed to stay open until 1:00 am and football stadiums will operate in full occupancy. Universities will do away with the limit of 75 students per lecture hall, but face masks remain mandatory.

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The Dutch cabinet is going to relax on even more coronavirus rules, now that the hospitals are equipped to deal with the current wave of infections. This has implications for higher education institutions. From February 18, they will be allowed to gather as many students in their lecture halls as before the pandemic.

However, nothing is going to change regarding the face mask mandate. Students and staff must wear one at all times when walking around the buildings. If they cannot keep a distance of 1.5 metres from others, they will have to wear them inside lecture halls as well. Higher education institutions are not obliged to demand a Covid pass for entry, neither will they be.

A UU spokesperson cannot say yet what these changes will mean for the educational schedule. One of the questions arising is whether all lectures for more than 75 students can immediately take place in the largest lecture halls. In the next few days, a workgroup of schedulers is going to give the Executive Board some advice on the matter.

The university would rather wait for the announcements of the next press conference, set to take place next Tuesday, to inform students and teachers on how to proceed. The changes can also impact the recommendation for staff members to work from home as much as possible, as well as events like graduation ceremonies.

Cafés
In theatres, cafés, movie theatres and similar establishments, which will keep requiring a Covid pass for entry, customers will no longer be required to wear a face mask - unless there are more than 500 people.

The experts of the Outbreak Management Team are yet to give the government their advice ahead of the press conference of February 15, but nothing else is going to change about the rules. The minister of health has already informed the House of Representatives about them so that the MPs can vote and the new rules can come into effect in a week.

Dissatisfaction
Municipalities, the police, the Public Ministry and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment have told the cabinet that the dissatisfaction with the Covid rules is greater than ever, and making sure that people follow them is getting harder and harder.

The minister of health understands. Young people in particular are sick of the coronavirus rules, he says. The relaxations are expected to improve their physical and mental health.

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