The government was set to approve on Thursday further lifting of restrictions imposed on the public and the economy in an effort to curb the spread coronavirus.
The tentative agreement will open more local businesses including hair salons and barbershops, car wash services, money changers and car dealerships as long as they are not located inside shopping malls, while a decision to reopen the malls will be discussed again in a week after a tracking app to monitor shoppers gets approval from officials.
However, a senior health official told Ynet that he is worried the government may be rushing to reopen of the economy and a premature lifting of restriction might result in another COVID-19 outbreak.
"We are unable to draw a clear enough line for the public to distinguish between the things that endanger them," the official said. "We must set clear rules of thumb that the logic behind them will be clear to anyone - which businesses can and should be opened and which should still remain closed," he added.
"Enforcement guidelines must also be completely clear to those who open their businesses without complying with the rules, and we must set a regular pace for relieving restrictions."
The official added there is no clear plan for reopening of businesses which might result in an "exponential growth" of new infections in two or three weeks' time, which might be hard to control.
The government previously convened Wednesday to discuss further easing of restrictions.
A heated debate erupted at the meeting after some ministers spotted Health Ministry Director-General Moshe Bar-Siman-Tov adding a clause to the draft of regulations that banned the reopening of shopping centers with 15 stores or more without consulting the attorney general or discussing the move with other officials.
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon criticized Bar-Siman-Tov and demanded that businesses such as currency exchange services and barbershops be allowed to reopen right away as they are crucial to the economy.
"The Health Ministry no longer follows the developments. You lost it. Enough. I supported you at first, but now it cannot be that currency exchange shops, that have a separation barrier between employees and customers, aren't allowed to operate but banks are," said Kahlon.
"What justification there is to not open barbershops? If you think that Israelis will not go get a haircut, then you are wrong. They simply do it without a tax receipt because they are not allowed to work."
The finance minister also demanded to permission for restaurants to allow takeaways, and for flower shops and other businesses to also open.
First published: 11:11 , 04.23.20