Bars, gyms and hairdressers, as well as other public venues, are not permitted to be open until 14 January. One guest per household is allowed, but four guests are permitted during the holidays.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte stated that the measures were “unavoidable”.

As the spread of highly mutated variants has accelerated, countries across Europe have tightened their regulations.

The Netherlands’ new rules are the most stringent to be announced since Omicron.

“I stand before you tonight in a sad mood. “And a lot more people watching will also feel that way,” Rutte said at a Saturday news conference. “To summarize, the Netherlands will be back in lockdown starting tomorrow.”

People are being encouraged to stay home under the new restrictions.

There are strict restrictions on how many people can be seated at a time. Two guests over 13 years old are not allowed to stay in a person’s home. Between 24 and 26 December and New Year’s Eve, this number will increase to four guests.

Other than funerals and weekly grocery markets, events are not allowed.

Take-out restaurants can still sell their meals. Non-essential shops may offer click and collect.

All schools remain closed for the foreseeable future, at least until January 9.

“I can hear the entire Netherlands sighing now. “This is exactly one week until Christmas, another Christmas that’s completely different than what we would like,” Rutte stated.