A host of businesses, including restaurants, bars and swimming pools, set to reopen on Wednesday for the first time in months after government approved the easing of more coronavirus curbs due to the declining number of new diagnoses.
The cabinet approved the lifting of further health measures on Tuesday. All businesses will have to adhere to social distancing requirements, hygiene rules, install clear signs marking spaces in queues, update customer regulation and any follow any other instructions set to be published in the future by the Health Ministry.
Restaurants, bars and event halls
Businesses that can house up to 100 visitors at a time, are required to not fill the location to over 85% of their maximum capacity.
Restaurants and cafes are required to check customers’ temperature at the entrance, a distance of 1.5 meters (5 feet) between each table must be maintained, and service will only be provided at the table, meaning eateries with open buffets, where diners serve food for themselves, will remain closed.
Tables will be set only after the customers have sat down and people must make reservations ahead of time to avoid overcrowding.
Menus will be disposable, and tables, chairs, salts and pepper shakers and sauce bottles must all be cleaned and disinfected before and after each visitor.
Event halls are set to reopen only on June 14. There will be a register of guests at the entrance so that the venue can contact each and every person if a coronavirus patient would unknowingly be in the attendance.
The venue’s management will place signs at the entrance, in order to ensure guests maintain a two-meter distance, while all surfaces at the locatio will be disinfected frequently, including hourly disinfection of all bathrooms in the complex.
Venues will have to put up disinfection posts, mainly at the entrance and near the bathrooms.
The number of guests in the venues which, according to its business license, can accommodate up to 200 guests, may not exceed their 85% capacity. Venue staff must ask employees and guests about their health and anyone who refuses to answer the question will be barred from entering.
Additionally, temperature of all customers will be checked at the entrance. Those with a fever of 38 degrees or higher will not be allowed enter to the complex.
Guests at the venues will be required to wear face masks, nuclear family members will be seated together and guests who are in a high-risk group will be seated in a designated area.
Restaurants and bars that do not adhere to health regulations, will be fined NIS 2,000. Venues and event halls that violate the crowd capacity restrictions will be fined NIS 5,000.
Despite the removal of certain restrictions, fast food complexes in malls are not yet permitted to reopen.
Swimming pools and entertainment venues
Swimming pools and other tourist attractions also set to reopen on Wednesday. According to the latest health guidelines, the ratio of visitors must not exceed one person per every 6 square meters (64 square feet), while in areas outside the pool the ration must be one visitor per 10 square meters (107 square feet).
Pools will be allowed to operate dry saunas, but wet saunas and hot tubs are still not allowed. Changing rooms at the complex will have no more ten two people per shower.
Tourist attractions, such as amusement parks also set to reopen starting Wednesday. As with other businesses, a ratio of one visitor per 10 square meters (107 square feet) must be maintained.
Each attractions inside the park must house one visitor per 2 square meter (21 square feet), unless the visitors are part of the same nuclear family.
All rides will be disinfected before and after each use, jimbories and water parks are still not permitted to reopen, according to the government's outline.
Museums will also be able to reopen Wednesday, with one guest per 7 square meters (75 square feet), while maintaining frequent disinfection routine.
Drivers are now allowed to transport one additional person in a vehicle, meaning up to three people per car is now allowed. In cars with more than one backseat, three passengers can be transported apart in addition to the driver. The restriction does not apply on nuclear families and people that cohabit together.
Starting Thursday, up to 46 people will be allowed to travel on intercity buses, 49 commuters on city lines, and 75 passengers on articulated buses.
Taxis will be allowed to carry two passengers on the backseat.
In addition, according to the Health Ministry's outline, the limit on the number of customers in shops, malls, markets and businesses that provide non-medical treatments, has been changed from one customer person per 15 square meters (161 square feet), to one person per 7 square meters (75 square feet).
The restriction on workers in closed rooms have also been effectively abolished and as long as the two-meter distance between each person is maintained - or a partition between the employees is placed - employees can return to work.
Also, meetings of up 50 participants has alo been allowed, as long as the distance between employees is maintained.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the move, saying that the goal is to make life easier and allow people to go out.
"We received a lot of happy news today. First of all, we want to help the economy, the business owners and the self-employed who were looking forward to this moment. Secondly, we want to get back to routine, drink a cup of coffee, or drink a beer. So first of all, go have fun.”
Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said the easing of health rules is the government's gift to the Israeli public people ahead of Shavuot. “We have significantly increased the pace of the reopening of the economy," the minister said.
"We opened the bars, restaurants, pools, and even in the synagogues up to 70 people are now allowed. This can only continue if each and every one of us adheres to the health guidelines. Without it, the virus will return, and so will the closure. "