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Full text of government statement on new COVID-19 rules, and later amendment

Statement was issued by the Prime Minister’s Office and Health Ministry in the early hours of July 17; subsequently, amid outcry, restaurant ban was delayed

Illustrative: Israelis sit at a restaurant/bar in Jerusalem, on July 7. 2020.(Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Illustrative: Israelis sit at a restaurant/bar in Jerusalem, on July 7. 2020.(Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

The following is the official statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office and the Health Ministry in the early hours of Friday, July 17, 2020, imposing new restrictions in the battle against COVID-19.

NOTE: The restrictions on restaurants were amended on Friday afternoon, amid an outcry from restaurateurs, and that amendment appears lower down.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, yesterday evening (Thursday, 16 July 2020), convened the Cabinet to discuss and decide on interim steps to prevent a general lockdown in light of the sharp increase in the morbidity of the coronavirus.

The Cabinet decided on the following restrictions – which were approved as an order to amend and uphold the validity of “Emergency Regulations (Restricted Activity) — on the recommendation of the Health Ministry and the National Security Council:

The order takes effect at 17:00 today (Friday, 17 July 2020). Pending Knesset approval, and pursuant to law, the restrictions will take effect today as per the above.

General restrictions (seven days a week, effective at 17:00 today, Friday):

* Closure of gyms and studios for exercise or dance, except for use by competitive athletes, as defined in the order.

* Restaurants and eateries – takeaway and delivery only, no on-site seating.

* Restaurants and eateries in hotels – The number of people present will be limited to 35% of the maximum number allowed in order to permit the continued operation of the hotel.

Weekend restrictions (to take effect from 17:00 on Fridays until 05:00 on Sunday)

* There will be no restriction on leaving one’s home.

* During the weekend, being on beaches shall be prohibited (except for this weekend, 17-18 July, when beaches shall remain open).

* During the weekend, stores, malls, open-air markets, hair salons/barbershops, beauty parlors, libraries, petting zoos, museums and display spaces, pools, tourist attractions and cable cars shall be closed.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wears a face mask to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus as he chairs the weekly cabinet meeting, at the foreign ministry, in Jerusalem, July 5, 2020. (Gali Tibbon/Pool via AP)

This restriction shall not apply to stores providing essential services: Places for the sale of food, pharmacies and stores most business of which is the sale of hygiene products, opticians and labs for the repair of communications devices.

This restriction shall not apply to swimming pools at hotels that are designated for hotel guests only in order to allow hotels to provide the main ancillary services to their guests, during weekends as well).

In addition to the Cabinet decision and pursuant to the policy of reducing gatherings, the following actions were agreed on:

1. The Health Ministry Director-General will sign an order prohibiting gatherings that will allow up to 10 people to meet in closed areas and up to 20 people in open areas (except places of work and nuclear families). This will take effect at 17:00 today (Friday, 17 July).

2. The Cabinet authorized the Prime Minister and the Defense Minister/Alternate Prime Minister – following consultation with the ministers of Finance, Health and Education – to decide regarding restrictions on the education system. The decisions, upon being made, will be issued to the public.

3. Reduction of reception at government ministries – transition to online services (subject to legislative changes where appropriate).

4. Government ministries: Reduction to 50% presence in ministries – responsibility of the Civil Service Commissioner and the Finance Ministry Wages Director.

5. Closure of dining rooms at places of work – takeaway service only.

Violation of any of the above restrictions shall constitute a criminal offense.

Statement issued on Friday afternoon:

Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister/Alternate Prime Minister Gantz decide to leave restaurants open until 05:00 on Tuesday

In order to allow for preparations and due to the purchase of stocks of food by restaurants, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister/Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz have decided to leave restaurants open until 05:00 on Tuesday, 21 July 2020, according to the current format.

The Cabinet will approve the decision forthwith.

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