RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment has drawn up a generic framework of coronavirus measures for businesses, organisations, institutions, local authorities, and clubs and associations. The framework offers recommendations for how businesses, organisations and others can comply with the Dutch measures announced by the national government.
 

Not all the information on our website has been updated according to the press conference on 13 October 2020. We will update our information as soon as possible.

Guiding principles such as staying 1.5 metres apart, following hygiene measures, and the health check are the basis for this framework. These principles are in line with the basic rules for everyone.

This framework replaces the previous guidance documents and assessment frameworks provided by RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment . Specific parts of these guidance documents and assessment frameworks have been added to this generic framework as a separate appendix.

The generic framework does not focus on healthcare. Information for healthcare professionals is provided elsewhere on the RIVM website.

Aims

The framework addresses what measures are necessary indoors and outdoors to achieve maximum control of the spread of the novel coronavirus. Maximum control means preventing the spread of the coronavirus as much as possible. As a result, the number of new infections will drop to (almost) zero and new outbreaks will be prevented or be kept within manageable limits. The aim is to keep the reproduction number (R) below 1. This is achieved, in part, by limiting the number of contact moments, preventing groups from forming, controlling mobility and limiting the pressure on public spaces. In this way, people in these situations will be able to work as safely as possible. It will also be as safe as possible for visitors (customers, guests, etc.). The measures and recommendations in this framework are specifically intended to prevent infections and control the spread of the virus.

Personal responsibility

Entrepreneurs, organisations and businesses are responsible for applying the measures of the Dutch Government and the recommendations of this generic framework within their company/activity and for ensuring the health of their employees  during their work. They are also responsible for monitoring compliance with measures and recommendations.

Sectors, sector associations and umbrella organisations can use this generic framework to develop model protocols for their own sector. It is up to the company or organisation itself to use these sector-specific documents to establish its own protocol or update an existing protocol. More information about the state of affairs in each sector can be obtained from umbrella organisations and sector associations. More information about drawing up protocols can be found at government.nl.

Existing guidelines, standards of quality, or laws and regulations on working conditions and other aspects may be applicable within businesses, organisations and institutions. This includes how hygiene measures or cleaning is organised. These are sometimes stricter or more detailed than this generic framework provided by RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment . Of course the existing guidelines, standards of quality or laws and regulations will take precedence in that case. Entrepreneurs, organisations and businesses can contact their own sector or sector association for more information about the applicable guidelines, standards of quality, and laws and regulations.

Generic guiding principles indoors

1. Maintain distance and keep people moving through
Ensure that everyone can stay 1.5 metres (2 arm lengths) away from others.

Exceptions:

  • Children aged 12 and under do not have to stay 1.5 metres apart from each other and from adults (the latter applies as of 1 July);
  • Teenagers aged 17 and under do not have to stay 1.5 metres apart from each other (as of 1 July);
  • People who live together in the same household/family do not have to stay 1.5 metres apart.

In some situations, it is not possible to stay apart from others, so the 1.5 metre rule can be temporarily lifted. This involves:

  • contact between people who require care or assistance and their care providers;
  • people in contact professions (as of 1 July, this also applies to sex workers);
  • athletes (both indoor and outdoor sports), actors and dancers during sports, acting or dancing (as of 1 July).

Measures to ensure that visitors and other people can stay 1.5 metres apart and to control the flow of visitors:

  • Place tables and chairs in a room/hall arranged in such a way that everyone can strictly stay 1.5 metres apart.
  • Notify everyone to keep their distance from each other. Post reminders of the 1.5 metre rule in multiple locations.
  • Define fixed walking routes and mark them clearly. Arrange walking routes in such a way that people can pass each other in different directions while staying 1.5 metres apart. Otherwise, set it up for one-way traffic.
  • Have visitors wait outside (1.5 metres apart), if it is not possible to stay 1.5 metres apart while waiting inside. Do not let visitors in until the reserved time (if applicable).
  • Have visitors arrive/depart and enter/exit in small groups so they can stay 1.5 metres apart.
  • Ensure that there is enough distance between the seats in a cinema, theatre, waiting room or lobby, etc.
  • Limit the number of people in a single room wherever possible. Always ensure that people can stay 1.5 metres apart in a room AND that the number of people in the room does not exceed maximum capacity according to the current measures.
  • Limit the number of people in sanitary facilities (washrooms, toilets and/or showers). Have visitors wait while staying 1.5 metres apart.
  • Supervise the number of people using the lift and the distance between them. For example, if the lift is small or cramped: have people take the lift up and walk down the stairs as much as possible.
  • Ensure that people move smoothly through the space and avoid congestion, for example by opening doors.
  • Spread visitors out across the day by offering longer opening hours (obviously only within the permitted opening hours).
  • Train and supervise employees in following the measures and recommendations and monitoring that everyone stays 1.5 metres apart.
  • Minimise contact at the cash register or service desk. This can be done by having people reserve online or by phone as much as possible and providing online or contactless payment options.
  • Install a physical barrier (such as a plastic screen). Such barriers could be placed at the service desk / information desk / cash register or reception desk, when it is not possible to stay 1.5 metres apart.
  • An occupational hygienist can offer advice on setting up the room safely, as a workplace or for the public. Such an expert can do a site visit to assess the location and advise on specific measures, such as installing screens.
     

There may be situations in which employees are unable to stay 1.5 metres apart from each other, for example in a small kitchen. In that case, the employees must observe the extra points for attention that apply to contact professions.

2. Hygiene measures
RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment has hygiene guidelines (in Dutch) for sectors and institutions such as primary schools, events, and saunas and bathing establishments. For public areas and sectors that do not have specific hygiene guidelines in place, there is a document outlining General Hygiene Guidelines (in Dutch). The items listed below are additional measures and recommendations in relation to the novel coronavirus. Also take into account measures for hygiene or cleaning based on your own sector-specific guidelines/quality requirements or laws and regulations on working conditions and other aspects.

  • Have everyone observe the hygiene measures meticulously. Employees and visitors should do the following: wash hands regularly with soap and water, do not touch your face, do not shake hands, cough or sneeze into your elbow, and use paper tissues to blow your nose and discard them after use.
  • Communicate the general hygiene recommendations in multiple locations.
  • If there is a handwashing station, make sure that everyone can wash their hands with soap and water upon arrival and departure. If there is no handwashing station, advise everyone to wash their hands immediately after returning home, or offer an approved disinfectant hand gel. More information about approved disinfectants.
  • Ensure that the toilets are supplied with sufficient (hand) soap and paper towels.
  • Clean touch points, such as door handles, ATMs and multi-user touchscreens, several times a day with cleaning wipes or soap and water (e.g. all-purpose cleaner).
  • Clean chairs, railings, tables, etc. and the toilets several times a day.
  • Clean the room/facility thoroughly according to the regular cleaning protocol after each working day.
  • Make sure that employees have their own dining area / break room / toilet(s) / changing room, etc., where they can stay 1.5 metres apart and observe the hygiene measures.

3. Maximum number of visitors per room

  • The general rules set by the Dutch Government (as of 1 July) for indoor activities must be followed.
  • In rooms for which the government has specified a maximum number of visitors, that number must be maintained.
  • If there are several different rooms (e.g. in halls, offices, etc.), the maximum number of people/visitors is determined per room, as long as the flow of visitors can also stay 1.5 metres apart in the other areas (e.g. sanitary facilities, walking routes, entrance and exit, etc.).
  • Determine the number of people who can be admitted to a room, so that everyone can strictly maintain a distance of 1.5 metres.
  • If the visitors are moving through the space (e.g. in museums, monuments, libraries, shops, etc.), no maximum number of visitors is applied. The ability to stay 1.5 metres apart is the deciding factor.
  • Do not give visitors access to private rooms, kitchens or staff rooms.

4. Reservation and placement

  • If required, a reservation must be made in advance.
  • If required, assigned seats (placements) must be designated for visitors and/or employees.
  • If possible, time slots should be used, defining a start and end time.
  • Ensure that businesses and institutions know in advance how many employees are present during a shift or working day and record who was at work and when.
  • Work in fixed teams as much as possible. If there are fewer changes in personnel, there will be a smaller risk of spreading the novel coronavirus in the event of asymptomatic or presymptomatic employees.

5. Health check (triage)

  • If required, a health check must be performed. Employees/visitors must do the health check before the start of the shift/visit. If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then that person must stay home.
  • Visitors must be made aware of the health check during the ticket sale or reservation and at the start of the visit.
  • Provide the health check along with an appointment confirmation or ticket purchase.
  • If a person has health problems, such as cold symptoms, runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, coughing, shortness of breath, elevated temperature or fever, and/or sudden loss of smell or taste, that person must stay at home.
  • If someone develops symptoms during the day, that person should go home immediately.
  • Anyone who has symptoms, even mild symptoms, can be easily tested via the company doctor or municipal public health service (GGD) They should be tested as soon as possible in order to effectively contain the spread of the virus. In the event of a positive test result, everyone is expected to cooperate with source and contact tracing. For that reason, employers should actively promote the testing policy among employees. Read more about the testing policy.
     

6. Ventilation

  • Ensure that the ventilation complies with the regulations (Building Decree) and guidelines. The Building Decree specifies the minimum ventilation standards per accommodation space or area.
  • It is important for an accommodation space to be ventilated 24 hours a day through natural ventilation (grilles above a window, gaps), or by mechanical ventilation systems. Good ventilation is necessary to refresh the air and contributes to a pleasant and healthy indoor climate.
  • Air out an accommodation space at least once a day for about 10-15 minutes. You should also air out the space if rapid air exchange is required, for example after holding a group meeting in a room, or after cooking. To air out an indoor space, open windows and doors on opposite sides of the area.
  • Modifications to mechanical ventilation systems are not necessary.
  • Follow the maintenance instructions of the mechanical ventilation system to ensure proper operation.
  • Read more about ventilation and the novel coronavirus. (in Dutch)

7. Risk groups

  • RIVM has additional recommendations for employees who are in a risk group. (in Dutch)
  • Visitors in a risk group must determine for themselves whether they are able and willing to visit such a facility.
  • The sector will define policies for risk groups, possibly in consultation with a company doctor and/or occupational hygienist, to ensure that working conditions are as safe as possible for the employees (and visitors) who are in a risk group.

8. Personal protective equipment not required

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is not required if:

  • Everyone performs the health check and stays home if the answer to one or more questions is ‘YES’;
  • And everyone complies with the additional measures.

It is not recommended to wear e.g. a face mask that covers the nose and mouth, apron or gown, or disposable gloves. This is possible because of the recommendations to stay home in the event of even mild symptoms, stay 1.5 metres apart, not shake hands, and wash hands frequently with soap and water. These recommendations remain important and prevent the spread of the virus.

Exceptions:

Other points of attention for specific groups of employees:
• Appropriate advice for pregnant employees (in Dutch) can be arranged in consultation with the company doctor, based on the guiding principles described by RIVM. The sector association or umbrella organisation can draw up its own policy for pregnant employees on the basis of this document.
• Teenagers (under 18 years), including holiday workers, are entitled to extra protection under the Working Conditions Act.

Generic guiding principles outdoors

The guiding principles described below can also be used by organisations, businesses and institutions for organising events subject to notification and licensing requirements, when such events are allowed again.

1. Maintain distance and keep people moving through
Ensure that everyone can stay 1.5 metres (2 arm lengths) away from others.

Exceptions:

  • Children aged 12 and under do not have to stay 1.5 metres apart from each other and from adults (the latter applies as of 1 July);
  • Teenagers aged 17 and under do not have to stay 1.5 metres apart from each other (as of 1 July);
  • Children and teenagers aged 18 years and under can take part in organised outdoors sports activities, and do not have to stay 1.5 metres apart from each other;
  • People who live together in the same household/family do not have to stay 1.5 metres apart.

The rule is that everyone stays 1.5 metres apart. However, in some situations, that is not possible, so the 1.5 metre rule can be temporarily lifted. This involves:

  • Contact between people who require care or assistance and their care providers;
  • People in contact professions (as of 1 July, this also applies to sex workers);
  • Athletes (both indoor and outdoor sports), actors and dancers during sports, acting or dancing (as of 1 July).
  • Actors during performances and rehearsals, and dancers while practising together and dancing with one or more regular dance partners according to choreography (as of 1 July).

Recommendations to ensure that people can stay 1.5 metres apart and to control the flow of visitors:

  • In designing the outdoor area, everyone must be able to stay strictly 1.5 metres apart.
  • Notify everyone that they must stay 1.5 metres apart, and post reminders in multiple locations.
  • Define fixed walking routes and mark them clearly. Arrange walking routes in such a way that everyone can pass each other in different directions while staying 1.5 metres apart. Otherwise, set it up for one-way traffic.
  • Have visitors wait while staying 1.5 metres apart. Do not let visitors in until the reserved time (if applicable).
  • Have visitors arrive/depart and enter/exit in small groups, so they can stay 1.5 metres apart.
  • Ensure that there is enough distance between the seats.
  • Limit the number of people in sanitary facilities (washrooms, toilets and/or showers). Have visitors wait while staying 1.5 metres apart.
  • Ensure that people can move smoothly through the area.
  • Spread visitors out across the day by offering longer opening hours (obviously only within the applicable opening hours).
  • Train and supervise employees in following the measures and recommendations and monitoring that everyone stays 1.5 metres apart.
  • Minimise contact at the cash register or service desk, for example by having people reserve online or by phone as much as possible and providing online or contactless payment options.
  • Install a physical barrier (such as a plastic screen). Such barriers could be placed at the service desk / information point or cash register, when it is not possible to stay 1.5 metres apart.
  • When setting up the room safely, an occupational hygienist can, after a site visit and assessment, advise the entrepreneur on specifically applicable technical and organisational measures, such as installing screens.

There may be situations in which employees are unable to stay 1.5 metres apart from each other, In that case, the employees must comply with the extra points for attention that apply to contact professions (p. 13).

2. Hygiene measures
RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment has hygiene guidelines (in Dutch) for sectors and institutions such as primary schools, events, and saunas and bathing establishments. For public areas and sectors that do not have specific hygiene guidelines in place, there is a document outlining General Hygiene Guidelines (in Dutch). The items listed below are additional measures and recommendations in relation to the novel coronavirus. Also take into account measures for hygiene or cleaning based on your own sector-specific guidelines/quality requirements or laws and regulations on working conditions and other aspects.

  • Have everyone observe the hygiene measures meticulously. Wash hands regularly with soap and water, do not touch your face, do not shake hands, cough or sneeze into your elbow, and use paper tissues to blow your nose and discard them after use.
  • Communicate the general hygiene recommendations in multiple locations.
  • If there is a handwashing station, make sure that everyone can wash their hands with soap and water upon arrival and departure. If there is no handwashing station, advise everyone to wash their hands immediately after returning home, or offer an approved disinfectant hand gel. More information about approved disinfectants.
  • Ensure that the toilets are supplied with sufficient (hand) soap and paper towels.
  • Clean touch points, such as door handles, ATMs and multi-user touchscreens, several times a day with cleaning wipes or soap and water (e.g. all-purpose cleaner).
  • Clean chairs, railings, tables, etc. and the toilets several times a day.
  • Clean the room/facility thoroughly according to the regular cleaning protocol after each working day.
  • Make sure that employees have their own dining area / break room / toilet(s) / changing room, etc., where they can stay 1.5 metres apart and observe the hygiene measures.

3. Maximum number of visitors

  • The general rules set by the Dutch Government (as of 1 July) for outdoor activities must be followed.
  • At the locations for which the government (in Dutch) has specified a maximum number of visitors, that number must be maintained.
  • Limit the number of people in the outdoor area, so that everyone can strictly maintain a distance of 1.5 metres.
  • If the visitors are moving through the space (e.g. in open-air museums, monuments, etc.), no maximum number of visitors is applied. The ability to stay 1.5 metres apart is the deciding factor.
  • Do not give visitors access to private rooms, kitchens or staff rooms.

4. Reservation and/or placement

  • If required, a reservation must be made in advance.
  • If required, assigned seats (placements) must be designated for visitors and/or employees.
  • If possible, time slots should be used, defining a start and end time.
  • Work in fixed teams as much as possible, and record who was at work and when. If there are fewer changes in personnel, there will be a smaller risk of spreading the novel coronavirus in the event of asymptomatic or presymptomatic employees.

5. Health check (triage)

  • If required, a health check must be performed. Employees/visitors must do the health check before the start of the shift/visit. If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then that person must stay home.
  • Visitors must be made aware of the health check during the ticket sale or reservation and at the start of the visit.
  • Provide the health check along with an appointment confirmation or ticket purchase.
  • If a person has health problems, such as cold symptoms, runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, coughing, shortness of breath, elevated temperature or fever, and/or sudden loss of smell or taste, that person must stay at home.
  • If someone develops symptoms during the day, that person should go home immediately.
  • Anyone who has symptoms, even mild symptoms, can be easily tested via the company doctor or municipal public health service (GGD) They should be tested as soon as possible in order to effectively contain the spread of the virus. In the event of a positive test result, the person is expected to cooperate with source and contact tracing. For that reason, employers should actively promote the testing policy among employees. Read more about the testing policy.

6. Risk groups

  • RIVM has additional recommendations for employees who are in a risk group. (in Dutch)
  • For visitors who are in risk groups, it is particularly important to follow the basic rules, such as staying 1.5 metres apart.
  • The sector will define policies for risk groups, possibly in consultation with a company doctor and/or occupational hygienist, to ensure that working conditions are as safe as possible for the employees (and visitors) who are in a risk group.

7. Personal protective equipment not required
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is not required if:

  • Everyone performs the health check and stays home if the answer to one or more questions is ‘YES’, and
  • Everyone complies with the additional measures.

 It is not recommended to wear e.g. a face mask that covers the nose and mouth, apron or gown, or disposable gloves. This is possible because of the recommendations to stay home in the event of even mild symptoms, stay 1.5 metres apart, not shake hands, and wash hands frequently with soap and water. These recommendations remain important and prevent the spread of the virus.

Exceptions:

Other points of attention for specific groups of employees:

  •  Appropriate advice for pregnant employees can be arranged in consultation with the company doctor, based on the guiding principles described by RIVM. The sector association or umbrella organisation can draw up its own policy for pregnant employees on the basis of this document.
  • Teenagers (under 18 years), including holiday workers, are entitled to extra protection under the Working Conditions Act.

Extra points of attention

Extra points for attention for contact professions

Contact professions are professions that involve frequent and direct contact with others within a distance of 1.5 metres.

  • Reservation and health check are required.
  • If it is not possible to stay 1.5 metres apart, keep the consultation/service as short as possible. Stay as far apart as possible.
  • Plan the professional activities in such a way to minimise contact between clients at all times.
  • After every customer contact, clean the materials, instruments and furniture in the treatment rooms, such as the chair, exercise materials and examination bed.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) is necessary if the paramedical care cannot be postponed, emergency care is necessary, AND the customer has answered ‘yes’ to one of the questions from the health check. In that case, the paramedical care provider will use personal protective equipment in accordance with the guidelines of the relevant sector association.

Extra points for attention for indoor sports

  • Reservation and health check are required.
  • Reduce the normal maximum number of participants of a training session or lesson by half.
  • Athletes should preferably play as much as possible in the same group or team, and personal data on the participants should temporarily be retained, by keeping a record of who was playing and when by means of the reservations.
  • One option is to train at no more than moderate intensity.
  • It is important to ensure household cleaning (with soap and water or cleaning wipes) of the contact points of the equipment used after individual use and of materials for group sports after the training session.
  • Wherever possible, avoid sharing equipment and other gear in indoor team sports. This can be done by choosing certain exercises or training set-ups that do not require sharing.
     

Extra points for attention for sauna and wellness

  • Reservation and health check are required. Also agree on the duration of the visit.
  • Classical (Finnish) saunas: As a precaution, where possible, ventilation is increased and air recirculation is avoided as much as possible.
  • Pouring rituals may take place, provided that:

    o No products are used that can induce a coughing stimulus, such as certain essential oils.

    o As a precaution, air flows from one person to another are avoided (for example when "fanning").

Extra points of attention for professional football, top sports, and indoor and outdoor sports, including amateur competitions

  • The health check is required for team sports and contact sports.
  • It is important that every athlete and trainer/coach is aware that if they are infected, they can also infect other athletes, with all the consequences that entails.
  • It is also important that each athlete and trainer/coach is aware that, in case of any infected players in the team or group (who have been playing sports together for more than 15 minutes at a distance of less than 1.5 metres), they will be considered a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 patient. If that happens, everyone in that team will be in quarantine for 14 days after that sporting activity. This applies to both indoor and outdoor sports. Athletes in indoor sports should also be aware that, if they have played indoors in the same space as an infected person, they will be considered a contact (but not a close contact) of that person – even if they stayed 1.5 metres apart.
  • Team sports and contact sports: during training sessions and (practice) matches, players do not have to stay 1.5 metres apart, but should maintain that distance outside of that context. The risk of infection also depends on the duration of the contact. For that reason, it is advisable to maintain a distance of 1.5 metres wherever possible during the training sessions.
  • For individual sports, it is advised to stay 1.5 metres apart, unless this is not possible during practice matches and competitions. Examples of this include certain sporting competitions, such as running or cycling races.
  • For contact sports where this is possible (e.g. judo, boxing), it is advised to train with the same training partner(s) as much as possible (form cohorts). In the event of an unexpected infection, this reduces the number of contacts and therefore limits the risk of further spread.
  • For all sports, the number of athletes and supervisors per sporting activity should not exceed what is necessary for the sporting activity (training, practice match, competition). In addition, the advice is to keep the team formation as stable as possible. This reduces the risk that an infected athlete or employee who may be asymptomatic or presymptomatic will spread the virus, and makes it easier to perform contact tracing if necessary. In addition, to facilitate contact tracing, it is also advisable to temporarily retain personal data on the athletes and coaches per sporting activity, for example by maintaining attendance lists.
  • Due to fact that contracting COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2 infection) could have potentially serious negative effects on a sports career, professional athletes are also encouraged to consider limiting the number of contacts outside their sports activities.
  • In a number of countries, professional athletes are being tested for the novel coronavirus; this is also happening in the Netherlands for research purposes. Testing athletes is not recommended as a matter of standard policy. One exception is if international competitions are allowed to take place. To prevent import and export of the novel coronavirus, and thus prevent further transmission, it is advised to test the Dutch athletes and accompanying staff 2 days before departure as well as before their return. The pre-departure test can be combined with serological testing, which can help define follow-up policy in case of any infection in the team.
  • Obviously, in the event of international sporting events, it will be required to comply with the prevailing policies in the host country
     

Extra points for attention for choirs and vocal ensembles

  • It is important that every singer is aware that if they are infected, they can also infect other singers, with all the consequences that entails.
  • Singing in an indoor space: if there is an infected person in the team or group, everyone who was present during the singing will be considered a contact (but not a close contact) of that person – even if they stayed 1.5 metres apart. Keeping temporary records on choir members by means of attendance lists will facilitate any source and contact tracing among choir members by the municipal public health service (GGD).
  • There should be at least 1.5 metres between each choir member, preferably not lined up one behind the other, but in a zigzag formation.  
  • As a precaution, additional measures for indoor ventilation are recommended for choirs and vocal ensembles, in addition to the usual preventive recommendations. The ventilation system in the room where communal singing takes place should be on 24 hours a day. Make sure that the room is aired for about 10 minutes during breaks and after the gathering.  (This opinion is based on standards from the LCHV Hygiene Guidelines (in Dutch). In the event of any doubt about the ventilation and air flows in the room, it is advisable to seek professional advice. Make sure that people are not present in the room while it is being aired – or, if that is not possible, prevent people from sitting behind each another in the airflow while the room is being aired.