Israel's coronavirus cabinet voted to reopen small business that don't involve interaction with the public, kindergartens, take-away food services and beaches starting Sunday.
During Thursday's meeting, which lasted nearly five hours, ministers also approved events weddings with up to 10 people in confined space and up to 20 participants in an open area.
The decision that was slammed by Interior Minister and Shas leader Aryeh Deri. He rallied behind a proposal to increase the number of attendees at wedding events, which have been illegally taking place in the Haredi community even during lockdown.
"It is not possible to approve weddings for 20 people," Deri said during the meeting. "The number needs to be increased. It is impossible to tolerate a wedding of 20 people. These are things that the public cannot tolerate. You are forcing people to break the law."
The ban on the public to leave home beyond one kilometer was also lifted.
Cities and communities classified as "red", indicating high coronavirus infection rate, will remain in lockdown until contagion rate in those areas is lowered.
Head of the Association of Restaurants Chef Haim Cohen praised the decision to allow take-away from restaurant. "The permit to sell take-away in restaurants is an amendment to the previous and erroneous decision of the Israeli government not to allow it," he said.
Earlier, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed his decision to impose a month-long nationwide lockdown in response to spiraling coronavirus infections, calling it a success that European countries want to learn from.
Speaking to ministers at the start of a coronavirus cabinet meeting to discuss an exit strategy from the closure, Netanyahu cautioned that a third lockdown was possible should Israel not lift restrictions in a measured and gradual manner.
Some ministers expressed concern that Netanyahu intended to extend the lockdown further and not lift restrictions that would allow young children back to kindergartens and schools as well as delay the reopening of some small businesses that do not involve public interaction.
While daily cases have declined, coronavirus czar Ronni Gamzu said Thursday that while he was optimistic, Israel must see a steady reduction of both new cases and the rate of contagion for a period of one week before restrictions can be lifted.
"We appear to be reaching our goals and would be able to begin lifting some restrictions next week," he told Army Radio.
First published: 17:48, 10.15.20