Israeli Government Confirms New Coronavirus Restrictions

Jerusalemites wearing face masks for fear of coronavirus walk in the Old City on Monday.
(Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

The Corona Cabinet met Monday to determine the next steps to help stop the renewed spread of the coronavirus and approved a series of new restrictions effective immediately.

According to a joint statement from the Prime Minister’s Office and Health Ministry, restaurants will be limited to 20 patrons inside and 30 outside.

Hotels will stay open, but hotel bars will need to close and restaurants will be limited to 20 patrons inside.

Summer school will only operate for fourth grade and below.

The measures require approval from the Knesset, or in some cases, the head of the Health Ministry.

“We are required to address the coronavirus on the ground,” said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the start of the meeting. “The plague is spreading. The numbers are rising steeply each day and with it the number of severely ill patients.

“Today, there are about 90 severely ill patients and that doubles every day,” he continued. “If we do not act now, we will have hundreds and possibly thousands of serious patients in the coming weeks. … That is why we are required to take immediate steps.”

The Health Ministry, which came to the meeting with a series of recommendations, said that if decisions were not made on Monday, by next week the discussion would center on a total lockdown.

The full list of restrictions are as follows:

  • 1. Event halls, clubs and bars – closed
  • 2. Restaurants – 20 people sitting inside, up to 30 outside
  • 3. Shuls – up to 19 mispallelim
  • 4. Gyms and public pools – closed
  • 5. Cultural performances – closed
  • 6. Organized sporting events – without a crowd
  • 7. Hotels – bars closed, hotel restaurants 20 people (enclosed seating)
  • 8. Summer camps – closed for children over fourth grade
  • 9. Buses – up to 20 passengers per bus, with windows open and no air conditioning
  • 10. Gatherings – up to 20 people, two meters apart and wearing masks
  • 11. Government offices – 30% of staff are required to work from home

Shuls – with up to 19 mispallelim – and yeshivos are allowed to remain open. Earlier Monday, it was reported that there would be no discussion on closing the yeshivos, due to pressure by MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni (UTJ), who threatened to quit the government if the yeshivos were forced to close.

Furthermore, the government approved the draft law for the amendment and validation of emergency regulations so that the restrictions on which the government decides will take effect immediately.

The bill will be passed for approval of the Knesset plenum immediately.

Also, the Knesset Law Committee voted on Monday morning to advance a bill pushed by Netanyahu to increase the fine for not wearing a mask in public from NIS 200 to NIS 500.

The bill still must pass in the Knesset plenum to become law, with the coalition intending to bring it to a vote by Monday evening.

As of Monday morning, there are 11,856 active cases in Israel, including 90 patients in serious condition. There were 817 new cases diagnosed on Sunday.

Israel’s death toll stands at 332.

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