May 6, 2020 / 4:15 PM / in 22 days

Netherlands to begin phased easing of lockdown Monday: broadcaster

FILE PHOTO: Customers wait outside on social distancing markings at a prototype location of fast food giant McDonald's for restaurants which respect the 1.5m social distancing measure, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Arnhem, Netherlands, May 1, 2020. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw/File Photo

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Netherlands will begin a phased easing of its almost two-month-old coronavirus lockdown on Monday, according to a report by the national broadcaster NOS.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte is set to announce the reopening schedule in a live TV broadcast at 1700 GMT on Wednesday evening, the NOS said, citing anonymous sources.

From next week, elementary schools will reopen, with classes split and rotated to enable greater distancing.

Beauty salons and hairdressers will also be allowed to reopen, for customers who make appointments, and non-contact outdoor sports such as tennis will be permitted, the NOS said.

Public transport will resume normal schedules from June 1, but with just 40% of seats available to allow for social distancing, and with the wearing of face masks compulsory. High schools will also reopen in June.

Millions of commuters generally take the Netherlands’ efficient trains, buses and trams to work every day.

Since the lockdown began in mid-March, they have kept running, but with most people working from home, they have been virtually deserted.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the Netherlands rose by 232 to 41,319 on Wednesday, with 36 new deaths for a total of 5,204, the National Institute for Health (RIVM) said in its daily update.

Reporting by Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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