Corona Cabinet Eases Restrictions on Shuls, Same as Restaurants

An outdoor minyan, with social distancing in Yerushalayim, Monday. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Coronavirus Cabinet meeting that was abruptly cut short Thursday due to the announcement of the normalization agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, reconvened Friday morning to continue discussing new directives to help stop the spread of infection.

The cabinet approved a change in the number of people who can gather in open and closed spaces. From now, the numbers will be based more on the size of the site.

According to the new guidelines in shuls, and, lehavdil, restaurants, in a room that is smaller than 80 sq. meters (861 sq. ft.) only 10 people will be allowed to gather, while in larger places, 20 people will be allowed.

For tefillos held outdoors, it will now be possible to daven in groups of up to 30 people.

The updated guidelines for shuls comes after harsh criticism from the chareidi public and its representatives of the Health Ministry and the Corona Cabinet.

The ministry is meeting against the backdrop of an ever-increasing level of infection in Israel.

The Corona Cabinet is to discuss next week an outline detailing unified regulations regarding gatherings in shuls, hotels and restaurants and will see capacity in shuls raised to 35%. The motion was promoted by Housing Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman and Interior Minister Rabbi Arye Deri.

Last week Professor Roni Gamzu stated that he would try to make the same guidelines for shuls and restaurants: “The apparent discrimination [in restrictions] between restaurants and shuls are painful. I will change them, but it may take time.

“It does not make sense to limit 10 people in a small shul and the same 10 in a large shul.”

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