Israel to Scrap Restrictions on Outdoor Gatherings

Healthcare workers take test samples of Israelis in a drive-through complex to check if they have been infected with COVID-19, in Ramle. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz decided late on Wednesday to scrap some restrictions on outdoor gatherings, pending approval of the Coronavirus Cabinet.

As of Friday, events held outdoors will no longer be limited to 5,000 participants but will be held under Green Pass regulations, requiring proof of vaccination or of negative tests for COVID-19.

The decision will be brought to the members of the Coronavirus Cabinet for approval in a telephone vote.

The expedited move was promoted by Culture Minister Chili Tropper and was approved by health experts after a consistent drop in the number of daily COVID infections.

Bennett’s decision comes days after the Cabinet decided to allow vaccinated tourists to enter the country from Nov. 1, if their vaccines are recognized by the World Health Organization, and to allow tourists vaccinated by the Russian-made Sputnik V shots from Nov. 15.

The Prime Minister also began a review of the decision by FDA medical experts in favor of vaccination of children aged five to 11.

Israel hopes for an expedited process of approval, with the vaccination campaign expected to be rolled out in the latter part of November, pending approval of health officials.

Deliberations are expected to be held in full view of the public, who will be able to pose questions for health experts – in the hopes that concerns over adverse effects of vaccines will be addressed, and that parents will opt to vaccinate their children and prevent illness.