Netherlands protest COVID-19 vaccine pass to enter bars and restaurants

Hundreds of protesters marched on Saturday against the introduction of a “corona pass” in the Netherlands, as proof of COVID-19 vaccination became mandatory to enter bars, restaurants, theaters and other places. Hours after the requirement to show the pass or a recent negative coronavirus test came into effect, the government of interim Prime Minister Mark Rutte sacked a minister who had publicly questioned the measure.

Rutte’s office said Deputy Economic Affairs Minister Mona Keijzer was fired because her comments went against cabinet policy on an issue “of such importance and weight. “. The launch of the vaccination pass coincided with the lifting of almost all social distancing measures in the country, where 72% of the population has received at least one dose of the vaccine.

While face masks will still be mandatory on public transport, students and teachers will no longer have to wear masks in schools, and a distance rule of 1.5 meters (almost 5 feet) in public places has also been deleted. Carrying banners and placards as techno music played over mobile speakers, several hundred protesters opposed to the pass made their way through the streets of the Dutch government capital, The Hague.

Some of the signs compared the COVID-19 restrictions to measures imposed by repressive governments. “Medical apartheid. Stop vaccine passports, ”said a sign. Most Dutch support the so-called corona pass, which also faced opposition when it was introduced in other European countries such as Italy and France, and most of the criticism has come from the hotel industry. .

More than 40% of bar and restaurant owners do not plan to ask customers for a certificate, the country’s hotel industry association Horeca Nederland said, citing a survey of its members. He said in a statement that many companies view the requirement as a “policy tool” to boost vaccine uptake, and warned it would hurt the industry as it recovers from the pandemic.

In an interview with the Telegraaf newspaper, Keijzer – the sacked minister – asked whether the demand was justified. “If we find ourselves in a society where we have to be afraid of each other unless we can prove it, then you really have to scratch your head and ask yourself: is this the direction in which we want to go?” she was quoted as saying. (Written by Anthony Deutsch Editing by Helen Popper and Clelia Oziel)

(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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