Idan Raichel plays to 1,000 socially distanced fans at Tel Aviv concert
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The right note

Idan Raichel plays to 1,000 socially distanced fans at Tel Aviv concert

Audience remains seated and masked while divided into groups of 20 in order to maintain Health Ministry regulations

A photo of the socially distanced audience at an Idan Raichel concert in Tel Aviv September 12, 2020. (Screengrab: YouTube)
A photo of the socially distanced audience at an Idan Raichel concert in Tel Aviv September 12, 2020. (Screengrab: YouTube)

Israeli singer-songwriter Idan Raichel gave a socially distanced performance in front of 1,000 fans at a venue built for the pandemic in Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park on Saturday night.

The audience was divided into groups of 20, with sections roped off, and fans had to remain seated and wearing masks.

To allow mass gatherings while still maintaining Health Ministry regulations for businesses and events, the outdoor stadium enforces social distancing between groups or “capsules.”

“The unique complex is fully adapted to strictly ensure the health of our customers,” said Uzi Biroti, deputy CEO of the Zappa Group which organized the concert, in an interview with the Ynet news site earlier this month. “It is important for us to… again to allow artists, musicians, and stage people to return to live performances and bring quality and exciting music and art to an Israeli audience.”

At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March, Raichel held a concert in a Herzliya club and played in front of about 200 empty seats. A 55,000-strong crowd watched the live-streamed performance online.

Ahead of Saturday’s concert, Raichel asked concert-goers to keep to the rules, but also enjoy themselves.

“Please maintain the regulations, sing with all your might, and have fun for all of us. May we have only [good] health,” the musician wrote on Twitter.

The concert came a day before ministers were set to approve a new national lockdown, beginning at 6 a.m. Friday, September 18.

Idan Raichel plays a concert for the Zappa Group and Keshet, which are offering free, online concerts of well-known Israeli musicians (Zappa Group)

Representatives from the entertainment world have been among the most vocal in their opposition to the move, saying it would be a death knell to the industry.

Israel’s death toll from the virus was some 1,103 as of Sunday morning, with 490  COVID-19 patients in serious condition and 198 in moderate condition.

There were 2,651 new cases confirmed on Saturday, although rates of confirmed cases are typically lower over the weekend.

Newly confirmed cases of the coronavirus have been rising steadily, to a record high of some 4,000 per day at the end of last week.

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