Pedestrians and cyclists took advantage of Israel’s renewed lockdown on Saturday, utilizing the quiet to stroll and bike along usually-busy thoroughfares.
With synagogues shuttered, Sabbath prayers were held in outdoor groups.
Under the new rules, nearly all businesses are closed, with the exception of specific companies and factories designated as “essential” by the Defense Ministry’s National Emergency Authority. Restaurants are permitted to operate on a home-delivery basis only.
Israelis aren’t allowed to travel more than a kilometer (0.6 miles) from their homes, with the exception of specific activities that are exempted.
Police were deployed on highways and at the entrances to cities and towns to ensure Israelis don’t attempt to travel during the lockdown.
Most of the proposed measures went into effect at 2 p.m. on Friday, but plans to limit demonstrations and prayers were not included after lawmakers were unable to reach an agreement on the restrictions that fell outside the cabinet’s authority and required Knesset approval.
In an interview Friday with Channel 13 news, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein signaled the lockdown measures would likely be extended beyond the end of Sukkot on October 9.
“The public needs to be told the truth: We’re headed for a few weeks of lockdown, but in different conditions. Following the first two weeks of a ‘hard’ lockdown, in the hope that the numbers go down, slowly we’ll begin to loosen up,” he said.
“We won’t repeat the mistakes we made of immediately opening everything,” Edelstein added, referring to the easing of restrictions after the initial lockdown earlier this year.
The network meanwhile quoted an unnamed source saying the lockdown measures could remain in place for two months.