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In the Dutch virus test, visitors use their fingertips through tulips

LISSE, Netherlands (AP) – Finally, after the closed winter months of the coronavirus, the shooting of spring hope appeared on Friday, when restrictions on the Dutch flower garden and other public places eased.

According to a government-approved pilot scheme, the world-famous Kukenhof Garden opened its gates to allow several thousand people to step on the toes of 7 million tulips, hyacinths, daffodils and countless other small hand-planted lawns. gardeners.

Between Amsterdam’s The Hague Pancake Flat Lamp Fields, a maximum of 5,000 visitors were allowed to enter the garden if they proved that they were simply trying negatively for COVID-19.

Minke Kleinen, who visited Arnhem with her boyfriend Ilse van Egten, said they thought it was “their first legal day”. Friends took quick tests before leaving ճանապարհ received negative results by e-mail while driving.

“It’s weird that we can stand next to each other,” Van Egten said, quickly embracing Kleinen. “Nice to meet you!”

Last year, the Keukenhof lost an entire season to an epidemic as the first deadly wave of infections spread to the Netherlands. The opening scheduled for March 20 this year has never taken place due to the severe blockade of viruses in the country.

The limited opening, six days spread over two weeks in April, is a welcome addition to the 40 gardeners who spend months preparing for the annual spring season. In a normal year, a park the size of 50 football fields can receive 10 times more visitors per day.

Park director Bart Simeerink had mixed feelings.

“I am just happy today. “Keukenhof is the first day of 2021,” he said, but added that the park still feels different with a relatively small number of visitors.

“So it’s a good feeling we can open up, but this is not Kukenhoff as expected,” he said.

In the pre-epidemic years, the Keukenhof trails, park benches and cafes were crowded with visitors from all over the world taking selfies with one of the most famous products in the Netherlands, the poppy.

On Friday, small groups of visitors were scattered around the lawns. You can buy a plate of puffs – small Dutch cookies, covered with icing sugar, without a long queue.

The Dutch government announced this week that it would allow hundreds of public places to reopen in harsh conditions to assess whether rapid testing could safely help the country ease coronavirus restrictions in the face of rising vaccines and warmer weather.

According to the program, visitors to Keukenhof, as well as museums, zoos and other places, are allowed to enter if they book a ticket online and pass a negative virus test within 40 hours of their visit. All virus tests are free և The result is sent to the test taker within one hour. In turn, this code can be scanned locally.

The tests come amid persistently high infections that have started to decline in recent weeks after months of blocking.

Health Minister Hugo de onge ong sees limited gaps as a way to return to a normal life as vaccines reach more and more people.

Visiting the Kukenhof seemed like a privilege to those who entered.

“This is a gift,” said blogger Barry de Nice. “She is OK. It’s beautiful weather … but walking through the tulips is fantastic. ”

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Follow AP epidemic coverage https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic և https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

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