Updated guidelines: Israel’s eased restrictions in the battle against COVID-19

Fines for not wearing face masks, some businesses allowed to reopen, and a new ‘purple badge’ standard for workplaces – all the details of the rules in effect from April 19

An Israeli woman with a face mask walks in Jerusalem on April 15, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
An Israeli woman with a face mask walks in Jerusalem on April 15, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

The cabinet on April 19 approved new guidelines amid the rollback of some restrictions on economic activity imposed in the struggle to contain the coronavirus outbreak in Israel.

Here are the updated guidelines:

  • Israelis are required to wear masks when out in public. Anyone caught more than once without wearing a face mask in public will be handed a NIS 200 ($56) fine. Operators of public facilities are not allowed to admit or serve people not wearing face masks.
  • Outdoor prayers of up to 19 people are allowed, with two meters between worshipers, wearing masks.
  • Weddings and circumcisions are allowed, attended by up to 10 people in an open area keeping a two-meter distance. Men are now allowed to visit mikveh ritual baths, provided there are no more than three people at the facility at any one time.
  • People are allowed to go 500 meters beyond their own home for sports or prayer, and 500 meters from their workplace for prayer. Sports activities are allowed only in fixed pairs, or with people from the same household.
  • Beaches, parks, playgrounds and municipal sports areas are closed.
  • Special education programs are allowed to operate for groups of up to three children, with 15-minute intervals between groups. Kids from three families can be looked after by a single carer.
  • Visiting others in their homes is not allowed, except for three families who are in regular contact regarding childcare.

The aforementioned guidelines took immediate effect and are set to remain in force until May 3. The guidelines regarding workplaces are as follows.


Workplaces in the industry, production and services sectors are allowed to have 30% of their employees come to work, or 10 workers at the same time at the same workplace — whichever is higher.

These restrictions don’t apply to workplaces that meet the criteria for a “purple badge” standard.

To meet the “purple badge” standard — which is self-regulated — businesses must appoint someone to be responsible for coronavirus awareness, adhere to hygiene rules, ban gatherings in coffee areas and kitchenettes, maintain a distance of two meters between people, check body temperatures upon entry, and arrange transportation for the same group of employees on the same shift, to the extent possible.

Additionally, two workers may be present in a room of up to 20 square meters, and more workers may be present if there is a barrier to prevent the transfer of droplets; five workers may be present in a room larger than 20 square meters – more if there is a barrier; meetings and discussions are allowed for up to eight people.

If an employee contracts the virus at a workplace, all or part of it will be closed until a Health Ministry epidemiological investigation takes place.

Those in high-risk groups vulnerable to COVID-19 are encouraged to avoid going in to work.

Various retail stores — including those selling electrical goods, household goods, opticians, and others — are allowed to operate if they meet their own “purple badge” standard, which entails taking body temperatures upon entry, delineating a two-meter distance between customers at cash registers, erecting a physical barrier between buyer and seller and frequent disinfecting.

The number of people in the store at the same time must be restricted so that there are no more than two customers per active cashier. Four people per active cashier are allowed in stores larger than 400 square meters.

Deliveries can be made from all stores, as well as pickup from stores that adhere to the regulations.

Shopping malls, markets, restaurants, toy shops, beauty and hair salons and clothing stores remain closed at this time.

The workplace regulations are currently in effect until April 30.

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