Bennett and Economy Minister Discuss Summer Events With Hall Owners

YERUSHALAYIM -

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Economy Minister Orna Barbivay, met Thursday in Tel Aviv with events hall owners to discuss courses of action to allow the continued holding of events in a safe manner.

During the meeting, the goal of which was to study the needs of the events sector and formulate correct responses for dealing with the coronavirus, the hall owners raised several proposals to reduce the chains of infection.

The hall owners thanked Prime Minister Bennett for speaking with them and for the opportunity to voice their position on the issue.

Following is an excerpt from Prime Minister Bennett’s remarks: “As far as I am concerned, this is not a symbolic meeting but a genuine work meeting. I will explain what we want to consult with you about and together we will think about what to do.

“In the previous waves, there was no dialogue. It is not that you want there to be morbidity in the country and it is not that you want your halls to become incubators for the coronavirus. You have solutions and common sense. I want to show you the data and where things are going, and discuss how we can allow activity and not shut down activity – without turning the halls into coronavirus incubators.

“Now, the sense is that everything is OK. There are vaccines. People are not dying in the streets and everything is OK. The new mutation, the Delta mutation, is now sweeping the globe. In every country in recent months, there was a decline, and now, throughout the western world, there is a dramatic increase in infection and, although there is a certain gap, there are also severe cases and deaths.

“Are the vaccines effective? Yes. They were perfect against the original strain – the Alpha strain. The Delta strain is different. It also multiplies much faster and responds less. Therefore, the vaccine is very effective but alone it is not enough. Basically, this is the battlefield that we are on.

“We see the information from Britain and the US. This time as well, we want to win but without closing everything. However, if we do not act now, we will need to close everything.

“What we know about this virus is that it is much more contagious. We are concerned about super-spreader events, what there were at the start of the second wave when the halls were opened – and boom. The worst situation for infection is crowding, a closed place and the flow of oxygen, strong breathing without a mask; this combination is deadly.

“Our goal is not to prevent weddings and celebrations in the halls. That would be the easiest and the most damaging because there will then be pirate weddings without oversight. Our goal is to define how to hold them in a time of pandemics, with minimal harm to the events sector and maximum protection for the citizens of Israel.”