Prof. Ash: No Need for Masks When Alone Outside

(Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Coronavirus commissioner Professor Nachman Ash on Thursday morning said that he hopes he will be able to push the elimination of the requirement to wear a mask when outside.

In an interview with Kan News, Ash said: “After Pesach, we will discuss eliminating [the requirement for wearing] masks. I hope it will be possible to do this. Outside, in the open air, when you are alone and not with a group, I don’t think there is a value in masks.”

He added that there is great importance in approving the budget to purchase vaccines for the next two years, in order to ensure Israel is a higher priority with regards to purchasing the next rounds of the vaccine.

When asked how many students must be vaccinated in order to allow classes to learn as usual, without capsules, Prof. Ash said: “In grades 11-12 as well, we can expand what we decided: We decided over 90% and we are now examining lowering that percentage so that more classes can learn as usual, without capsules.”

Earlier this week it was reported that police officers have been instructed not to enforce the mandate requiring Israelis to wear face masks outdoors, even though in principle it remains illegal to be without them in public.

The focus will instead be on enforcement against those who violate quarantine rules, Channel 13 reported.

The reported change in enforcement policy is not meant to signal that Israelis may go outside without masks, but if they do and run into law enforcement, they are unlikely to be fined.

However, the director-general of the Health Ministry rejected the idea that face masks could soon be done away with.

“I don’t think so,” Chezy Levy responded during an interview with Army Radio, noting there are still 2.5 million children and another million people over age 16 who are not vaccinated.