Police hand out 1,800 social distancing fines over Easter weekend

Over the long holiday weekend, police in the Netherlands handed out roughly 1,800 fines to people for violating physical distance rules. Officials had been particularly concerned because of the warm weather predicted for Saturday and Easter Sunday, but police said no large-scale interventions were necessary.

“In most places it went well and many people followed the rules that exist because of the coronavirus,” police said. Most of the times police cautioned people they responded understandingly, and kept more of a distance.

“We also saw that people wanted to go out with the nice weather,” said national police leader Max Daniel, adding that it was “difficult” for many people to stick to the government’s advice and stay home as much as possible. The forecast prompted some municipalities to close off parks, recreation areas, and some roads.

The rules were put in place by the national government to combat the spread of coronavirus. It authorizes police and some security services to fining adults 390 euros for either being in a group of more than two people at a distance less than 1.5 meters.

“We see that there are many reports about young people who are on the street in groups. We always act, sometimes with a warning warning, but also by handing out fines,” Daniel said.

Minors may be fined 95 euros. Businesses which do not do enough to prevent people from clustering may be fined up to four thousand euros and could see their businesses ordered shut.

The advice that people stay at home has also had a continuing impact on crime statistics.

“There are still far fewer reports of thefts and burglaries,” police said. “Reports of noise and neighbor nuisance remain higher than normal.”