Word of managers – Pauline Son

Covid-19, where do we stand today?

About 2 months ago, on the 27th of February, the first person infected by the coronavirus was taken to hospital in the Netherlands. Many measures were taken since then to prevent as much as possible the spread of the virus, protecting especially the weaker and elderly and make sure that the hospitals were able to provide sufficient care.

As in so many countries, life in the Netherlands changed entirely in many aspects, which obviously has a significant effect on both the Dutch and the internationals.

Our government describes the current situation as an intelligent lockdown. The three main rules for this are: stay as much as possible at home, work – if possible- from home and keep 1,5 meters distance from other persons.

The Dutch are allowed to leave their houses, and go for example, to a grocery store. To ensure, however, the 1.5m distance, only a limited number of people are allowed in shops. Grocery stores started to count the maximum number of shopping carts allowed inside the shop to guarantee this rule. Therefore you see people outside in a queue waiting for the next shopping cart to become available.

Schools, hairdressers, beauticians, restaurants, hotels, cinemas, gyms, physiotherapists and more are closed at least till 19th May. Public transport needs to take measures as well that the 1,5 meters distance can be maintained and therefore only people going to work are allowed in public transport. The elderly are not allowed to be visited in elderly homes.

Outside, only ‘groups’ of 2 persons maximum can gather together. Police will give a fine if you don’t follow the rules. To avoid the risk of being closer than the 1.5 meters distance, all (music) festivals are cancelled at least until 1st September.

The Dutch have been following the rules with discipline over the past weeks and as a result of this, last week some mitigation measures were announced!

On 11th May, primary schools and child care facilities will be opened again, and the children can attend half days to start with. Highschools hopefully will open again on 2nd June.

Children till the age of 12 can pick up their sports since this week, youngster as well, but this age group (till 16) still needs to keep a distance of 1,5 meters while doing their sports. Professional sports games, like the popular soccer competitions, are not allowed until September.

The above obviously affects the life of internationals living in the Netherlands. Like in the Dutch families, children and toddlers have been full time at home, but luckily now can return for 50% of the time. This will make it easier for parents to work from home efficiently (and get some rest!). Next to the discomfort that the above-mentioned facilities have closed, another consequence is that friends and family coming from countries outside of the Schengen area are unable to visit as the borders are closed at least till 15th May. Some international families have to deal with a split family situation as one of the couple might not have been able to travel home since the measures about the borders have been taken.  Some internationals probably might be able to start the new job, but will not have physical contact with their new colleagues as they need to work from home. As a result of this, corporates therefore, also can be reluctant to start with new employment contracts.

Although the reason is very sad and with financial consequences for landlords, there probably is an advantage for newly arriving internationals. We see that the housing market is getting less tense; the availability of properties increases because fewer people made the international move and arrived in the Netherlands. Today there are more properties to choose from, the urgency of making an over rushed decision is less, and probably there is some space for negotiation.

Expat Management Group is pleased to advise and assist you with renting a property in the current market situation.

Stay safe and we will keep you posted!

Pauline Son,

Director of Operations and Sales and Manager of Expat Management’s Relocation Team

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