Laurentius had parties planned for both March and April, in celebration of the association’s 110th anniversary. But after the government announced its ban on large-scale assemblies of over 100 people, the association was forced to cancel the festivities. Gayral: “It is what it is – whether we like it or not. We’re conferring daily to determine where to go from here.”

Quiet hall

Laurentius’s members were informed of this decision via email. In addition, they were asked to stop coming together in large groups and to keep their distance from each other. “We shouldn’t just be thinking about our own safety, but also keep our responsibility to society in mind,” says Gayral. “Our society hall is very quiet, meetings and sports events have been cancelled and we’ve asked our committees and boards to exclusively communicate via email and telephone.” So far, Gayral hasn’t received any reports of infection among the association’s members.

Will the outbreak have any financial consequences for the association and its anniversary year? “Developments are following each other so quickly that it’s hard to say at this point.” Likewise, Laurentius doesn’t know yet whether they’ll be moving the festivities back to later in the year. “I don’t have a crystal ball. First we need to wait and see how the situation develops and what will be financially feasible.” As yet, the events planned for May – the so-called ‘peak weeks’ – will be going ahead wherever possible.

Help out at the food bank

Still, the members of Laurentius don’t have to twiddle their thumbs over the next few weeks. A number of new requests have come in at the association’s charity foundation Voormekaar in connection with the corona outbreak. Among other things, the Rotterdam Food Bank has called for extra helping hands, but the association members have also been asked to support and supervise schoolchildren with their homework. Gayral: “The foundation is currently inventorying which members want to and are able to help. And of course, anyone who’s healthy is welcome to contribute.”


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