Up in smoke: Coronavirus closures hit Dutch coffeeshops

AMSTERDAM (AP) — Trade at Amsterdam’s famed weed-selling coffeeshops suddenly went up in smoke Sunday night after the government ordered them closed along with all other restaurants and bars in the latest move to rein in the spread of the coronavirus.

Queues quickly formed outside coffeeshops 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 closures are set to last until at least April 6.

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. Health Care Minister Bruno Bruins made a point of mentioning that coffeeshops would be included in the closures.

“I don’t smoke much, but I thought if I have to sit inside for three weeks,” she told an Associated Press photographer as she waited patiently in line outside the Bullwackie coffeeshop in southern Amsterdam, where the menu includes a gram of Dutch “Amnesia” weed for 10 euros ($11).