The terraces of restaurants and cafes spilling out into the streets of the pretty medieval Dutch town of Sluis were teeming with smiling people on weekends clinking glasses in the spring sun.
The Netherlands reopened outdoor hospitality last Wednesday and the Belgians, ignoring official advice, had walked a short distance across the border in large numbers to enjoy their neighbor’s freedom over the long weekend of Labor Day. “We could have filled 400 tables,” said an apologetic waiter from Resto de Eetboetiek, refusing the last family to arrive without a reservation.
Despite concerns within the Dutch government over the country’s infection rate, the rapid The rapidity of the vaccination rollout in the country in recent weeks and the clear impact of the blow on transmission have been key to emboldening Prime Minister Mark Rutte to push forward to reopen the economy.
According to the latest official data, a coup is administered in the Netherlands, 17.2 million inhabitants, every half a second, a huge windfall compared to the very first months when a lack of organization in the administration of the coup seemed to be the origin of an ice age.
The Belgian government, while being a little more cautious given some of the particularly dark months the country faced during the pandemic, has said it also plans to reopen the outdoor hospitality on May 8, again. fortified by its own take-off of vaccines.
Like the Netherlands, although for different reasons, Belgium’s deployment was not rapid in the first months of this year. Faced with some of the worst death statistics in Europe, the government has focused on giving injections to the most vulnerable: 86.8% of those over 80 are fully vaccinated and 84.18% of those 65 to 84. But it’s now spreading through the younger and more easily accessible age groups, reducing the time between dosing and administration from 18 days in March to about four last week.
This development is observed elsewhere in the EU. In addition to latecomers from Bulgaria, Latvia, Croatia and Romania, more than 20% of the population in each of the other EU member states has now received a vaccine, with the small island state of Malta opening the lane with 52.43%, and as the hard-to-reach priority groups are ticked off, the beat rate accelerates.