Dutch restaurant association suing state over coronavirus closure

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The national association of restaurants and catering businesses in the Netherlands said on Monday it will sue the Dutch state to overturn lockdown measures it fears will lead to many bankruptcies.

Koninklijke Horeca Nederland (KHN), the largest organisation representing Dutch hospitality businesses, said it was taking the step because the government had provided no clear plan for reopening four months after they were ordered to close.

KHN is also seeking unspecified damages in the latest legal challenge to the Dutch government’s COVID-19 response.

A court last week sided with anti-lockdown group “Virus Waarheid” or “Virus Truth” that the 9 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. curfew, which triggered street protests when it was imposed on Jan. 23, lacked the correct legal basis and ordered it to be scrapped. That ruling is being appealed.

The government is expected on Tuesday to extend the curfew by another three weeks until late March, but to allow hair dressers and high schools to reopen next week, local media reported.

“We are deeply disappointed by this government,” KHN chairman Rober Willemsen said. “They keep clinging to the epidemical situation, while they regularly change the medical parameters of their policy. And, meanwhile, our business goes down the drain.”

Reporting by Anthony Deutsch and Bart Meijer; editing by David Evans and Ed Osmond