The decision by the Dutch authorities on whether or not one-day festivals could continue was not expected until 13 August, but as the organisers considered that too late for practical reasons, the government requested the advice of the Outbreak Management Team (OMT).
At the moment, the OMT only considers it responsible to allow small events to go ahead, meaning that events with more than 750 attendees but without overnight stays, such as Dutch Valley or Tropikali, cannot take place either.
However, it is still possible that the situation will change by 13 August, but the authorities wanted to give the sector clarity as soon as possible, according to Rutte.
“Should anything change after 13 August, organisers can still choose to allow their festival to go ahead or appeal to the compensation scheme,” he added.
According to Belgian virologist and interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht, the Netherlands initially went too fast by allowing festivals, following the 1,100 confirmed infections after a two-day test festival earlier this month due to the too-long validity of negative test results.
“You have to see it like a Swiss cheese with many holes: you need several layers on top of each other to control the risks as much as possible,” Van Gucht added.
The advantage of playing it safe and gradually stepping up the pace, like Belgium is doing, is that the number of people allowed at events is increased only gradually, instead of allowed everything at once as the Netherlands did.
“Opening up gradually also means that we also know that, by then, we will have many more people who are fully protected,” Van Gucht added.