The strongest response to the press conference comes from the business community. VNO-NCW (Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers) and MKB Nederland (The Royal Association for Entrepreneurs) say ‘that the frustrations are growing among their supporters’. There is insufficient recognition for the harrowing economic problems in which entrepreneurs have ended up. May 20 feels like light years away.”Our members and we have worked hard on protocols to do responsible business,” said chairman Hans de Boer of VNO-NCW. “This is not rewarded by the Dutch Cabinet and that is a pity. This is an additional reason for a second package of emergency measures. The cabinet must also demonstrate by means of concrete examples of investments in housing construction, infrastructure and technology that it wants to create an economic perspective. Otherwise, the government will lose the confidence of the entrepreneurs and it will be very difficult to recover economically later on.”Jacco Vonhof, chairman MKB-Nederland, emphasizes that even if the companies are allowed to open again in ‘a 1.5 meter economy’, a lot of loss will be suffered. “We need to focus on what is possible, because people need perspective. Otherwise it will also go the wrong way socially.”
One industry that was completely wiped off the map yesterday up to September is the events industry (no Pinkpop, Lowlands, Gay Pride, Nijmegen Four Days Marches, and so on). Willem Westermann of VVEM (Association of Event Makers) is ‘not surprised, but very disappointed’. “It is a huge blow. We also hope for the support of the government, because it is clear that we are at the back when society is restarted. ”
Due to a direct threat to 48,000 jobs and an estimated loss of turnover of 3.5 billion euros, the question is whether the entrepreneurs can make it to 2021 to organize festivals and concerts again, the Association warns.
Among the businesses that hoped for relaxation of the rules are also the catering industry, gyms and hairdressers. According to KHN (Royal Dutch Hotel and Catering Association), there is a concrete protocol with the Ministry of Economic Affairs, with which catering entrepreneurs can still manage in the 1.5 meter economy.
“We are waiting for an answer and will continue to prepare very hard for the day when the measures will be relaxed.”
Hairdressers also thought of ways to continue business, using plexiglass walls, gloves and face masks. They think it is strange that for example dentists can operate using similar methods, and wonder if the hairdressers do not have the government’s trust they can do the same.
There were also rumors that zoos and museums could open again under strict conditions. Unfortunately this does not seem to be the case yet. “All we can do is send a signal that we are ready,” says Lisette de Ruigh of the Dutch Association of Zoos.