The government on Tuesday approved a new set of emergency measures meant to combat the spread of COVID-19 during the Passover holiday. The lockdown is set to begin at 7pm Tuesday and will include a curfew from 3pm Wednesday until Thursday morning, to prevent people giving in to the temptation to visit family and friends on the first night of the festival.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday announced the planned lockdown, with sources initially saying it could last from Tuesday 4pm until Saturday evening. The cabinet, however, approved the draft that demanded a shorter lockdown period.
The nationwide lockdown essentially prevents most Israelis from leaving the municipal boundaries of their own cities, although they would be allowed to shop for essential supplies in their communities close to their homes.
This is in contrast to the current guidelines that allow the public to stock up on food and medicine in stores and pharmacies, which might not be closest to their place of residence.
During that time, people will only be allowed to move between cities in extraordinary cases.
All public transport, including international and domestic flights, will be halted during the lockdown. Taxi services will still be operational.
Also, due to a nationwide curfew set to be in place on the night of Seder, food stores and pharmacies on Wednesday will close at 3pm, at least three hours earlier than they usually close on the eve of the Passover.
The draft goes on to say that parts of predominantly ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods in Jerusalem will be put under tighter restrictions, with residents forbidden from leaving the area entirely.
The draft doesn't name specific neighborhoods but rather splits Jerusalem into geographical areas, some of which will be defined as "restricted."
The newly-approved restrictions do not apply to communities with non-Jewish majority populations.
In additon, an order requiring Israelis to wear surgical masks when going outside will officially be issued and is set to go into effect on Sunday at 7am.