The year without more corona measures

Where 2021 was still the year of the flopped Summer of Love, 2022 was about releasing the corona measures. Although the virus is still among us, corona seems to have quickly faded into the background for many people. In 2022 we opened the doors again, caught up on the missed parties and packed up normal life as best we could. 2022 is the year when the corona measures are released.

You remember, July 2021. The gates to the Dutch festivals opened again and in no time people were lining up for their long awaited day of dancing. Dancing with Janssen was the profession of faith. But the Janssen vaccine was still being rolled out on a large scale at the time. Many young people had not yet received the shot. But don’t panic, even with a corona ticket you got the green light at the festival’s gates.

The result was a fire of an estimated 1,000 infections at the Verknipt festival in Utrecht. World news. The summer of love, which should have been the summer of 2021, was blown through our noses. Lockdowns followed, including a new hard lockdown in December 2021. A security measure by the Cabinet. Last year’s holiday season was driven by omikron, an increase in hospital occupancy and the booster campaign. How will things continue in 2022?

Flow places

As I said, the new year starts in a strong lockdown. After a few weeks, which feel like an eternity to some, the first relaxations are already taking place. For example, schools in primary and secondary education can open their doors again from 10 January. After-school care also starts again. The shutdown will last longer for other institutions, such as for the cultural institutions in our city.

Theaters and museums have to remain closed even longer, while supermarkets and home furnishing stores – also ‘flow places’ – have often been able to open their doors again. In protest against these measures, the Centraal Museum and Museum Speelklok in Utrecht will open one day on January 19. From January 26, almost everything will be allowed to open again, between 05:00 in the morning and 22:00 in the evening. From then on, people can go to cafes and restaurants, theaters, museums and cinemas, amusement parks, zoos, saunas and casinos.

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The biggest absentees from this list continue to be the nightclubs, much to the dismay of many Utrecht musicians, programmers and party goers. Another reason to protest: during the national action De Nacht Staat Op, stages and clubs open their doors against the rules. Another party is organized on stage De Helling in Utrecht, for which the tickets are sold out within hours. In addition, the use of the corona admission ticket is also subject to discussion.

Many entrepreneurs cannot pay for the extra staff to check the entry tickets, at a time when staff are already scarce. This much-criticized measure will expire not much later. From 25 February, among other things, the corona admission ticket and the meter and a half measure go out the window. However, hospitals in Utrecht decide to stick to the previously applicable safety measures for a while longer, to protect vulnerable patients.

Tram attack

On Friday 18 March, the tram attack on 24. Oktoberplein can be commemorated with the public for the first time. It will then be three years since Gökmen T. opened fire on passengers and bystanders in a tram and killed four victims. Due to the corona measures, the commemorations in 2020 and 2021 were still kept small. In 2022, more people can finally be present. A few days later, on Wednesday 23 March, almost all corona measures disappear. This means that it is no longer mandatory to wear a face mask on public transport and the 1G system will also expire.

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Deputy Mayor Lot van Hooijdonk laid flowers at the memorial site. Photos: Robert Oosterbroek.

But even after the expiration of the measures against the spread of corona, the virus continues to play a role in society. A minor role, yes. For example, certain advisories are still in place and various branches are receiving support from the government to survive the blows of the pandemic. Families, institutions and entrepreneurs, some have been hit hard by the virus. But the end of April is really in sight and in Utrecht that means: free market. And after two stripped-down editions of King’s Day, extra audiences are expected in Utrecht. The municipality is obliged to, among other things, control large crowds. King’s Day in 2022 will be fun as usual. The municipality is therefore positive about the course of the King’s Night and King’s Day in Utrecht. “The atmosphere was good and everyone was obviously happy that there was another party to celebrate.”

Liberation Festival

In May, Utrecht is hardly worried about the corona virus, the lockdown seems to be a long time ago. Hordes of people from Utrecht and beyond come to Park Transwijk to celebrate the liberation festival. The sunny day is a relief for many compared to the online version of the previous year, and the liberation is therefore celebrated lavishly. The last measure against the spread of corona expires in May, so people no longer need to wear a face mask at the airport and on the plane.

In the following month, the municipality of Utrecht announced extra support for entrepreneurs in the hotel and event industry. They have been hit hard by the corona crisis. Utrecht is making an amount of 500,000 euros available to help these entrepreneurs. The cost of applying for permits is low and catering entrepreneurs in Utrecht will pay no money in 2022 to add the first eight managers to the catering permit. The summer of love finally breaks out in Utrecht with the celebration of Canal Pride. No less than fifty boats sail on Catharijnesingel and Oudegracht with the most colorful people on them. Tens of thousands of spectators stood by and watched the performance. Various festivals follow during the summer, such as Tweetakt, Peeking at the Neighbours, Leading Voices, Central Park and last but not least Verknipt festival.

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