The Coronavirus Cabinet approved an increase in the fines given out to Israelis who fail to wear masks while out in public during their meeting on Monday.
The fines were raised from NIS 200 to NIS 500 ($145).
In addition, the Coronavirus Cabinet also authorized municipalities to close businesses that violate guidelines aimed at curbing the pandemic.
These moves come as the number of serious cases of coronavirus rises to its highest level since May.
While the daily number of new cases reported fell in recent days, from a daily infection rate of over 300 on Friday to 158 on Shabbos and 161 on Sunday, the number of serious cases rose Monday to 46, the highest number since May, and well above the 28 serious cases in early June.
The number of patients on respirators also rose, hitting 29.
The Education Ministry said Monday that 749 students and teachers have so far tested positive for the coronavirus, causing the closure of 217 education institutions out of Israel’s 5,200 schools and some 20,000 kindergartens.
Currently, 23,636 staff members and students are in home quarantine, as part of the Education Ministry’s policy to shut down education institutions where even one student or staff member has tested positive.