The cabinet voted on Tuesday night to enact a Purim Meshulash, a three-day Purim, of a non-traditional kind, imposing a nighttime curfew on Thursday, Lail Shabbos and Motzei Shabbos, to prevent gatherings that could spread the coronavirus.
The curfew will be in effect from 8:30 p.m. to 5 a.m, according to the government decision.
“This is to prevent what happened last Purim — we don’t want a repeat,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said earlier in the day, ahead of the vote, whose outcome had been expected.
Coronavirus commissioner Nachman Ash said Tuesday: “We recall what happened during the previous holiday and you are familiar with the fragile situation today. We must stop the rise in infections that could happen as a result of behavior over Purim,” Ash told chareidi reporters in a special briefing, according to The Times of Israel.
The decision followed days of advanced reports in the media that the Health Ministry was strongly urging strict measures on Purim.
Shuls will be permitted to reopen on Friday morning, with attendance limited to 10 people indoors and 20 outside, thereby allowing for the Megillah reading to be held with a minyan.
The rules for other gatherings were also relaxed, with outdoor gatherings of up to 20 people, and indoor groups of up to 10, allowed. The previous rules restricted outdoor gatherings to 10 people and indoors to five.