Updated: When are Israelis allowed to leave home? The specifics

Government tightens the rules, stresses that they are now mandatory and will be enforced in battle against coronavirus

People run near the beach in Tel Aviv on March 19, 2020 (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
People run near the beach in Tel Aviv on March 19, 2020 (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Emergency regulations approved last week and formally released as emergency ordinances on Saturday night, require Israelis not to leave home except under certain specific essential circumstances.

The Health Ministry regulations, aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus, are mandatory and will be enforced by law enforcement authorities, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last week, though a High Court of Justice ruling on Thursday limited the scope of the enforcement until the Knesset establishes committees that will begin to supervise the government’s activities.

The regulations permit citizens to leave their homes only for the following activities:

1. Going to work and coming back [within previously specified regulations on who is allowed to work: essential services and workforces to function as usual; private sector workplaces to reduce staff at work by 70%; small firms to keep to 10 staff maximum, working at least two meters apart];

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

3. Receiving medical treatment;

4. Donating blood;

5. Participating in demonstrations;

6. Taking part in court proceedings;

7. Going to the Knesset;

8. Receiving care in a social work framework;

9. Jogging and non-organized sports for 1-2 people, whenever possible with the same people each time or with people who live in the same place.

10. Brief walks alone or as a family (i.e., people who live together) for a short time and to a place close to the home, without going near other people;

11. Participating in a religious ceremony, including a wedding or funeral, or for prayers or immersion in a mikveh;

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

13. Going out for a vital need that has not been specified in clauses 1-12.

During all those activities, people should maintain a distance of two meters, or six feet, from anyone else, as much as possible. People from the same household do not need to keep that distance from one another.

In addition, no more than two people will be allowed to be in a car at any time, unless they live in the same household. The restriction will not be relevant for driving a person to and from a vital workplace.

Deliveries are required to be placed outside the building, next to the entrance.

It was not immediately specified what the punishment for violators will be.

The regulations bar people from opening malls and most stores; exceptions include places selling food, pharmacies and hygiene product stores. Clothes stores are allowed to stay open within limitations. Restaurants and cafes are closed to the public, but can make deliveries and prepare takeaway food subject to the limitations on numbers and proximity.  The punishment for those who keep their business open in breach of the regulations is six months in jail or a fine.

All schools, for all age groups, are closed. National parks, nature reserves and beaches are closed. Organized tours are barred. Museums, cinemas and theaters are closed, as are event halls, fitness centers and swimming pools.

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