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Over 2,000 new daily diagnoses for 3rd day; serious cases up

As cases rise, Green Pass system kicks back in for large events and venues

Access to sites for more than 100 people limited to those vaccinated against or recovered from COVID-19, or who have a negative virus test; children under 12 exempt from rules

The crowd cheering during a concert in Raanana, on June 12, 2021 (Yahav Gamliel/Flash90)
The crowd cheering during a concert in Raanana, on June 12, 2021 (Yahav Gamliel/Flash90)

Israel returned to the so-called Green Pass system starting midnight Wednesday, with the restriction applying to all events or locations where more than 100 people are gathered, whether indoors or outside.

The restrictions, approved by the cabinet last week, were reintroduced as the country experiences a resurgence of COVID-19 infections that have shot up from just dozens of new cases a day to over 2,000.

The move is unpopular with businesses such as restaurants who say they will struggle to apply the rules and fear it will drive away patrons.

The original Green Pass restrictions were lifted by the previous government on June 1 as infections dwindled.

According to the new plan, entry to events of more than 100 people — both indoor and outdoor — will be allowed only to those who are vaccinated, recovered, or who present a negative COVID test.

Children under age 12 are exempt from the system. However at some events, including weddings, children under the age of 12 will be required to present a negative virus test.

People sit at a cafe in Tel Aviv, on July 12, 2021. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

The national COVID-19 vaccination program, which has so far inoculated over 55 percent of the population, is only available to those age 12 and up.

Masks must be worn indoors except while eating, drinking, or some other activity that can’t be done while wearing a mask.

The rules apply to bars, cafes, gyms, event halls, studios, hotels, tourist attractions, houses of worship, eateries, sports events and conferences.

Shops, malls, swimming pools, museums, libraries, national parks, and nature reserves are not included in the Green Pass restrictions.

Israeli woman displays her green pass for a concert organized by the Tel Aviv municipality at Bloomfield Stadium on March 5, 2021 (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

There is a NIS 10,000 ($3,000) fine for businesses that don’t enforce the rules, including posting a sign that the venue operates according to the Green Pass and appointing a staff member to ensure the orders are being followed.

Until August 8, PCR virus tests can be done for free at designated sites around the country and must be taken no more than 72 hours before the event. After that date, only rapid virus tests will be available at special stations spread across the country, and members of the public will be required to pay for each test. The tests will need to be done within 24 hours of the event.

Rapid virus testing stations will be available in Magen David Adom ambulance service sites, Terem and Bikurofe medical clinics, and later also at Sonol gas stations as well as other locations.

Home virus testing kits that are planned for sale in pharmacies will not be valid to gain entry to sites under the Green Pass system.

Health care worker takes a coronavirus test samples in Modi’in, on July 21, 2021 (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

Tomer Mor, CEO of the non-profit Misadanim Restaurant Association, told the Kan public broadcaster on Wednesday that businesses oppose the Green Pass requirements of virus tests for unvaccinated patrons because “it will simply stop people from coming.”

Meni Elbaz, owner of the Sky Gym in Jerusalem, said reapplying the Green Pass system will impact the membership of unvaccinated people who do not have a pass.

“Now we have to explain to them that we have to freeze their membership, or that we can’t allow them entry,” he told Kan.

On Wednesday, Matti Caspi, one of Israel’s best-known musicians, said he is canceling a series of concerts due to the reinstatement of the Green Pass system.

“I already stated in the past that I won’t perform if there are restrictions that won’t allow some of my fans to come to my show,” Caspi wrote. “I won’t cooperate with dictatorship or fascism.”

Health Ministry figures released Thursday showed there were 2,165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed the day before, the third day in a row that the number was above 2,000, a daily caseload not seen since March.

Ziv hospital team members at the coronavirus ward in Safed on July 28, 2021 (David Cohen/Flash90)

Of the 15,292 active virus patients, 159 are in serious condition, the latter an increase of eight since midnight.

Since the start of the pandemic, 868,045 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Israel.

One reported death overnight took the death toll since the start of the pandemic to 6,463.

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