Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed Israeli citizens on Monday night at a press conference, unveiling Israel’s plan to return to a new normal following an encouraging continuous decrease in the rate of coronavirus infections in past weeks.
The prime minister revealed a long list of eased restrictions of movement as Israel takes giant steps to open its economy in regulations approved by the Knesset in a nine-hour meeting on Monday.
Netanyahu stressed that the new regulations will stay in place only as long as new coronavirus cases remain below 100 per day and that Israelis must still adhere to social distancing rules, wear face masks in public and maintain proper hygiene.
Israelis will no longer be restricted to 100 meters of their homes and may visit first-degree relatives including grandparents, although the prime minister cautioned against hugging and kissing.
השגנו הצלחה אדירה בבלימת מגיפת הקורונה והצלנו את חייהם של אלפי ישראלים. כעת חוזרים בהדרגה לשגרה חדשה שתהיה תלויה במשמעת ובאחריות של אזרחי ישראל. pic.twitter.com/9uGMISUMtZ
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) May 4, 2020
Groups of up to 20 people can gather in open areas, effective immediately and as of Lag Ba’Omer, up to 50 guests will be allowed to participate in outdoor weddings as well as at levayos.
Libraries, swimming pools, hotels, nature reserves, guest houses, heritage site and zoos will be re-opened immediately as well as non-medical treatment and complementary medicine clinics. Beaches remain closed for visitors but water sports will be allowed.
Malls, gym and open-air markets will be re-opened on Thursday. All kindergartens will re-open by Sunday and all students will return to school by the end of May.
All public facilities are expected to be re-opened by mid-June, including universities, sports centers, museums, and parks, with the details to be published at a later date.
Gatherings of up to 100 people will be permitted by May 31 and the government hopes to eliminate all restrictions on crowds by June 14, allowing the re-opening of restaurants, theaters and other businesses. Currently, restaurants can only provide food for take-out and seating in public spaces is forbidden.
“We have developed a wide-ranging plan in recent days that enables the State of Israel to return gradually to a ‘coronavirus-adapted routine,'” said Netanyahu. “But returning the economy, public and private arenas remain dependent on you, the citizens. It depends on your discipline and responsibility.”
Netanyahu stressed that restrictions will be re-imposed if there is a doubling of new cases within 10 days, if the number of patients in serious condition in hospitals reaches 250 and if there are 100 new virus cases a day, excluding those who arrive from abroad, outbreaks in nursing homes and those living in areas currently defined as virus hotspots.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)