New Rules Allow 19 People at Outdoor Minyan, Mikvaos Reopened for Three Men at a Time

Shacharis at the Kosel on Sunday morning. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

After an all-night session that concluded early Sunday, ministers approved a series of measures that will see thousands of stores reopen and tens of thousands of workers returning to their jobs. In addition, outdoor minyanim will be restored – but participants will have to wear a mask and maintain a distance of at least two meters from fellow mispallelim.

Those who fail to wear a mask covering the mouth and nose at minyan, or at any other public venue, risk getting fined NIS 200. The Health Ministry had been in favor of an NIS 500 fine, but ministers reportedly opposed that idea, saying that the sum was too high, especially given the fact that there have been spot shortages of face masks at times. Fines will only be given out after a warning was issued by police, according to the government decision.

Minyanim, as of Sunday morning, can include up to 19 people, and they can attend services taking place within 500 meters of their homes. In addition, limited permission was given for the use of mikvaos. Three men will be allowed into a mikveh at one time, with one person at a time actually using the mikveh in turn. According to Kan News, the decision to increase the number of people participating in a minyan was due to the insistence of Transportation Minister Betzalel Smotrich, while the limited reopening of the mikvaos was at the suggestion of Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman.

Several other restrictions are to be eased as well. While the rule restricting movement to 100 meters from an individual’s residence remains in place, those engaged in sporting activities are allowed to venture up to 500 meters from their homes. Special Education classes will be held as well, but with only three students per class.

Many stores will be allowed to open beginning Sunday, including electronics, communications, housewares, bookstores, sporting goods and furniture stores – but staff in the store and customers will have to obey rules regarding social distancing. Wearing masks will remain a requirement, and customers will have their temperature taken when walking into a store. The number of people in a store at one time will be limited, and stores are responsible to ensure that their staff are healthy. Stores that violate the rules will find themselves shut down.

For the past month, offices have largely been closed, but under the rules announced Sunday, companies can now reopen, although only 10 employees can be in the office at one time. Companies will be responsible for ensuring that those who come to work are healthy and will be required to take the temperature of anyone coming into the office. Workers will also have to sign releases stating that they are healthy. No more than eight individuals can be in a single room at one time, and they should be wearing face masks when possible, as well, according to the new rules.

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