Update 6 April: Travel restrictions during coronavirus outbreak
The measures concerning the coronavirus outbreak have been extended until 28 April inclusive. The government advises staying home as much as possible. It may be necessary to travel for essential work or work that cannot be performed at home, for essential shopping, or to provide care for someone else. We have listed the websites with information on this topic for you. As South Limburg enjoys strong connections with both our southern and eastern neighbours, we have also reviewed the measures in force in their respective countries.
Travel by car only when strictly necessary
The government is asking people to stay home as much as possible. This means that you should only use your car for essential travel. Additionally, no more than two people are allowed in one car. A report claiming that coronavirus can spread at petrol stations is currently circulating on social media. We cannot find any official information confirming this rumour. For safety reasons, use the plastic gloves that are currently provided by petrol stations.
In Belgium, people using their cars for purposes other than essential travel can receive fines. If you work in Belgium, then visit the following website (only available in Dutch) to see if you will be allowed to cross the now guarded border and what you need to be allowed to do so: www.rijksoverheid.nl/onderwerpen/coronavirus-covid-19/reizen-naar-belgie-met-vignet.
Germany is now enforcing stricter quarantine measures. The border between the Netherlands and Germany will not be closed; however, the German government will implement stricter measures than are currently in place. For example, everyone in Germany who has spent multiple days abroad (such as in the Netherlands) since 10 April must self-isolate for fourteen days when they return to Germany. This decision was made in Berlin after the government, advisors, and virologists met to discuss coronavirus.
Lorry drivers and other transporters of goods are exempt from these measures as are people who have an essential reason for commuting over the border. Crossing the border to refuel vehicles is no longer allowed. For an overview of the measures in force in Germany, please visit duitslandinstituut.nl/artikel/36312/corona-in-duitsland-veelgestelde-vragen (only available in Dutch and German). For official information concerning travel and border checks, please visit the following website: www.bmi.bund.de/SharedDocs/kurzmeldungen/EN/2020/03/corona-ein-und-ausreise-en.html (only available in English and German).
Cycle to work or to get some fresh air
Cycling is currently permitted in the Netherlands. If you have a job that cannot be performed from home, cycling remains a safe way to commute. The German Robert Koch institute argues that cycling can help protect you in these times as cycling helps strengthen your lungs.
If you want to get some fresh air by going for a relaxing cycle, then remember to observe the rules: no more than two people who do not share a household can gather in public. Do not go on long cycling trips and be extra attentive to avoid accidents.
If you want to use an e-bike as an alternative to public transport so that you can safely commute, then make use of the ‘Ontdek de e-bike’ (‘Discover the e-bike’) campaign.
Only use public transport when strictly necessary
We normally promote the use of public transport as a sustainable alternative to commuting or other travel. On behalf of the public transport providers, we are now calling for you to refrain from using public transport unless absolutely necessary. Read the measures implemented by Arriva. Visit the NS website to read their current travel rules.
Consult the NS Reisplanner before going on your journey or check 9292.nl. Please note that travel data is only published 24 hours in advance due to the current measures. If you need to travel by public transport, please observe the following recommendations to ensure safe travel:
- stay at home if you are ill,
- purchase your transport pass in advance,
- maintain sufficient distance when boarding, and during the journey,
- sneeze or cough into your elbow or into a tissue that you can then dispose of.
Travelling by public transport to or from Belgium or Germany
It is not possible to travel to Belgium by bus. Following discussions with FOD Volksgezondheid (Federal Public Service: Health, food chain safety and environment), bus company De Lijn decided that its buses will only drive to the border and not across it. Click here to see which bus lines are affected: https://www.delijn.be/nl/overdelijn/Corona/#grens(only available in Dutch). Until further notice, the train connection between Maastricht and Liege will not run. Many bus lines to Germany have also been changed. For an overview of all changes to bus lines, please visit the Arriva website.
Check current travel information before starting your journey!
Although we are doing our best to list the most current information for you, the situation may change rapidly. When in doubt, check the latest information by visiting the following websites:
- Governmental information: https://www.government.nl/topics/coronavirus-covid-19/news/2020/03/23/stricter-measures-to-control-coronavirus
- Netherlands' National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM): https://www.rivm.nl/en/current-information-about-novel-coronavirus-covid-19
- Governmental information: https://www.belgium.be/en/news/2020/coronavirus_reinforced_measures
- Federal Public Service: Health, food chain safety and environment (FOD, equivalent to the RIVM): https://www.info-coronavirus.be/en/
- be (only available in Dutch, French, or German): https://crisiscentrum.be/nl/news/crisisbeheer/wat-als-je-de-grens-over-moet
- Governmental information: https://www.bundesgesundheitsministerium.de/en/en/press/2020/coronavirus.html
Robert Koch Institute (equivalent to the RIVM): www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/nCoV.html