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Netherlands starts ‘painful’ Christmas coronavirus lockdown

AMSTERDAM: Shopping streets in the Netherlands were closed and people’s Christmas plans were in disarray as the country began a lockdown on Sunday aimed at limiting an expected Covid-19 surge caused by the rise of the Omicron variant.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced the sudden shut-down on Saturday evening, ordering the closure of all but the most essential stores, as well as restaurants, hairdressers, gyms, museums and other public places from Sunday until at least Jan. 14.

Hospitality workers demanded compensation for lost income in the holiday season, while gym owners stressed the importance of exercise during a health crisis.
“Closing all bars and restaurants in such an important month is incredibly painful and dramatic. We need compensation and an exit strategy”, the Dutch association for hospitality services said.

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