CANNABIS smokers lined up in their dozens to stockpile weed supplies, as the Netherlands imposed tight restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Customers queued up outside Dutch “coffee shops” on Sunday after the Government ordered their closure to beat the outbreak of the deadly disease.
The Netherlands’ famed coffee shops have become as much a part of the country’s popular image abroad as sex clubs in Amsterdam’s famed red light district, which were also ordered to shut by 6pm along with all bars and restaurants.
Customers lined up in their dozens as they tried to beat a deadline for the closure of the marijuana cafes and stockpile weed supplies for what could be weeks of lockdown.
Queues quickly formed outside coffee shops in the Dutch capital and elsewhere as customers — some facing three weeks of no school or work — decided to buy some pot while they still could.
The Government ordered all restaurants, cafes and schools shut down until April 6.
Amsterdam decides to close its famous coffee shops.
Long queues for last minute supplies pic.twitter.com/iAO5LdAs0E
— Jenan Moussa (@jenanmoussa) March 15, 2020
One woman, a health care worker who declined to give her name because of her job, said she rushed out after watching a livestream of a government press conference announcing the new restrictions.
The Netherlands’ Health Minister, Aire Slob, said the measure included the famous Dutch bars in the red light district selling hashish and cannabis.
The neighbourhood draws millions of visitors to erotic dance shows, adult clubs and brothels, where prostitutes pose in lingerie behind red-lit windows.
Healthcare Minister Bruno Bruins added that additional measures were likely.
“I am certain these will not be our last measures, the situation keeps developing very rapidly and we will keep deciding on further measures based on the knowledge of experts.
“I cannot speculate on what measures these will be, but it is clear that more will follow.”
Rutte was scheduled to address the nation on Monday evening to explain the unprecedented measures.
The number of confirmed coronavirus infections in the Netherlands rose by 176 to 1,135 on Sunday, with 20 deaths, the Dutch National Institute for Public Health said.
The Dutch flower industry also warned on Sunday that it was facing “huge losses” due to cancelled orders during one of the busiest times of the year.
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