Government issues updated restrictions, including ban on outside prayers

Employers told to reduce workforce outside homes to 15% of normal capacity, while employees coming in to work must report their body temperature daily

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men pray outside a closed yeshiva, in the town of Bnei Brak, on March 26, 2020. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men pray outside a closed yeshiva, in the town of Bnei Brak, on March 26, 2020. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

The cabinet on March 30 approved a set of new measures further tightening restrictions on the public amid efforts to limit the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the country, including a ban on prayer quorums and limits on funerals and Jewish circumcision ceremonies.

In a further step, on April 1, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israelis to wear masks when out in public.

The new regulations also place further limitations on workplaces, seeking to lower the workforce outside homes from 30 percent to 15% of its full capacity, and instructing all those working outside their homes to take their temperature daily before coming in to work.

The following is a full list of the new limitations:

1. No gathering will be allowed in public spaces, including for prayers or weddings. Individuals who pray should do so alone. At the Western Wall a single minyan (or prayer quorum) of 10 people will be allowed during three daily services, while keeping a distance of 2 meters from each other.

Funerals will be held in open spaces only, attended by up to 20 people.

Brit milah (circumcision) ceremonies will be held with up to 10 people.

2. Before coming in to work, employees will take their temperature and fill in a statement on taking their temperature and a lack of symptoms (body temperature of over 38 degrees Celsius, cough, shortness of breath). Employees will come in to work with their filled in forms for the day and the employer must gather them and keep them. If a worker is not employed at a place of business, the statement can be made orally.

3. Nonessential workplaces will enable no more than 10 employees or 15% of the worker roster (whichever is higher) to attend at any given time. Despite this, employers are allowed to raise the number of maximum workers up to 30% (the previous ceiling) if it is essential to maintaining operations, while informing the Economy Ministry.

4. At places of work where workers cannot maintain a distance of two meters from each other, employers will instate other measures to prevent infection.

5. Every employee will be provided with personal equipment as much as possible. Equipment changing hands between people will undergo stringent disinfection before being passed on.

6. Employees will be instructed to maintain strict hygiene practices, including hand-washing.

7. No more than two employees will be allowed in elevators at the workplace at any one time.

8. Computer and communication technology labs are included among places authorized to receive customers in accordance with Health Ministry regulations.

9. Shipping is allowed for all products in accordance with Health Ministry regulations.

10. Regarding people going outside, according to a cabinet statement, “The Cabinet decided that leaving one’s place of residence will be permitted for an individual or people who live in the same home, for a short period, and for a distance of up to 100 meters from the place of residence.” Amid reports that police were stopping people for jogging within 100 meters of their home, a police spokesman said the overall goal of the regulations was to keep people at home, but that exercising within the 100-meter limit did not appear to be a breach of the regulations.

11. Netanyahu on April 1 asked Israelis to wear masks, or scarves or other facial coverings, when out in public.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon in Jerusalem on March 11, 2019 (Aharon Krohn/Flash90)

The latest rules join those enacted last week, which prohibited people from venturing more than 100 meters from their homes apart from under certain circumstances, including:

1. Going to work and coming back, within previously specified regulations on who is allowed to work;

2. Stocking up on food, medicine and necessary goods and to receive essential services;

3. Receiving medical care;

4. Donating blood;

5. For legal proceedings;

6. To attend a demonstration;

7. Going to the Knesset;

8. Receiving care in a social work framework;

9. A short walk of no more than 100 meters from one’s home either as an individual or with others from the same residence for an undefined “short period of time”;

10. Helping a person with a medical problem or other difficulty that requires support, such as old age or physical infirmity;

11. A woman can go to immerse in a mikveh provided that she has coordinated her arrival in advance;

12. Taking children to educational frameworks for those whose parents are essential workers (in accordance with previous orders);

13. Taking children whose parents do not live together from one residence to another;

14. Transferring a child whose sole caregiver is required to leave for an essential purpose.

In addition, public transportation was reduced to around 25 percent of services and taxis will only be permitted to take one passenger unless the second is an escort for medical reasons. All passengers must sit in the back seat of the vehicle with the windows open.

View of the empty Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem on March 29, 2020. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

All workers should maintain a distance of two meters, or six feet, from anyone else as much as possible.

In addition, all business owners are required to check the body temperature of anyone entering their businesses. Anyone with a fever exceeding 38 degrees Celsius (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit) is to be denied entry.

Restaurant delivery services are allowed to continue; however, takeout is no longer permitted. Shipping and delivery of items bought online can also continue but all packages are to be left outside the door of the residence.

Non-essential stores are to close and parks are to remain shut.

Essential home maintenance services are also permitted to continue.

People over the age of 60 are deemed to be an at-risk section of the population, and are encouraged to remain at home.

Any store remaining open must ensure there is two meters between all staff and customers, and can only have four customers per active cash register.

Anyone found in violation of the regulations will be committing a criminal offense and can be fined NIS 500 ($137) or imprisoned for six months. The regulations allow police to enforce the relevant provisions.

An Israeli who operates public transportation in violation of the ordinances can be fined NIS 5,000 ($1,370) or be imprisoned for six months.

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