AMSTERDAM — Social distancing rules in the Netherlands are set to be eased next week, allowing people to leave off their face masks on many occasions and for bigger groups to meet, broadcaster RTL reported on Friday, citing government sources.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is set to announce the further easing of measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic at a televised news conference at 1900 local time (1700 GMT).
As of June 26, face masks will no longer be required if people can keep a distance of at least 1.5 meters (5 ft) between them, RTL said, limiting the requirement to wear one to public transport and airports.
Bars and restaurants are expected to be allowed to receive up to 100 customers at a time, while at home people will be allowed to receive eight visitors, up from the current limit of four.
Coronavirus infections in the Netherlands have dropped to their lowest levels in nine months in recent weeks as the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations has gathered pace.
Earlier this month, bars and restaurants were already allowed to reopen.
As the vaccine rollout gains momentum, many other countries are planning a gradual return to normal, with France and Spain planning to ditch face masks outdoors.
Up until Friday, around 13 million vaccinations were given in the country of 17.5 million, and the government expects to have offered at least one injection to all Dutch adults by mid-July.
Since the start of the pandemic, almost 1.7 million coronavirus infections have been confirmed in the Netherlands, with over 27,000 deaths.
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