The Netherlands Locks Down Until Mid-January Due to COVID-19 — What to Know
The Netherlands will enter a strict lockdown over Christmas and into the New Year in an effort to stem the spread of the highly contagious omicron variant, the latest European country to impose strict restrictions.
The Dutch country closed all non-essential shops like restaurants and museums and will keep them shuttered through Jan. 14, the Netherlands' Prime Minister Mark Rutte said over the weekend, according to Reuters. The country is also recommending outside gatherings be limited to no more than two people.
"The Netherlands is again shutting down," Rutte said during a televised news conference. "That is unavoidable because of the fifth wave that is coming at us with the Omicron variant."
The decision to go into a full lockdown comes weeks after the Netherlands implemented a nighttime lockdown. Since then, the country has seen a surge of cases with more than 14,600 new infections reported in 24 hours on Saturday, according to Reuters.
In the Netherlands, which the United States has warned against traveling to, more than 85% of adults are vaccinated, but less than 9% of adults have received a booster shot.
The Netherlands isn't alone in locking down. Earlier this month, Austria imposed a lockdown on unvaccinated citizens after lifting the strict measures for everyone else. The country also requires masks be worn on public transportation, inside stores, and inside public spaces.
Several other European countries have also boosted travel restrictions, including France, which closed its borders to the United Kingdom and now requires all visitors traveling from the U.S. to show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test taken within 48 hours of boarding a flight. For its part, the UK requires travelers to show a negative pre-arrival COVID-19 test in addition to getting a PCR test by the second day of their trip.
The U.S. has also tightened its entry protocols, requiring all incoming international travelers to get tested within one day of boarding a flight, rather than the previous requirement of 72 hours for vaccinated travelers.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.