Gov’t Mulls Lifting Weekend Lockdowns

Israeli police guard at a roadblock on a road in Yerushalayim, on April 29, due to the coronavirus. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

The government is considering lifting weekend lockdowns, introduced just two weeks ago as the latest measure meant to combat coronavirus.

Partial weekend lockdowns were approved by the cabinet on July 17 and allowed people to leave their homes, but malls, shops, pools, zoos and museums had to be shuttered from Friday afternoon until Sunday morning.

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein and Defense Minister Benny Gantz reportedly met Thursday and discussed the possibility of allowing stores and malls to open, although the decision is still pending government approval.

According to sources, Gantz called Edelstein and voiced to him the concerns of Israeli business owners, who claim that partial weekend lockdowns are hurting their livelihood and are irrational in nature.

Edelstein apparently clarified that he also disapproves of partial lockdowns, which he views as selective, and emphasized that only full lockdowns will bring about a decrease in infection rate. He added if a full lockdown is not currently possible, it’s preferable not to impose partial closures, which only hurt the economy.

The move would be in line with statements by newly appointed coronavirus commissioner Prof. Ronni Gamzu on Tuesday. As per his “Shield of Israel” plan, the government will limit the restrictions as much as possible and there would be no “illogical” government rules that “harm the economy.”